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World TT Championships Finals: Sathiyan, Ayhika Move to Next Round; Manika, Sharath Bow Out

India paddlers Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Ayhika Mukherjee advanced to the next round while the likes of Manika Batra, Sharath Kamal crashed out of the tournament on the opening day of the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships Finals, here.

Tokyo Olympian G Sathiyan beat Ukraine’s Yaroslav Zhmudenko 4-0 (11-2, 11-9, 11-4, 11-3) in the men’s singles round of 128 on Tuesday to set up a clash against Table Tennis Federation of Russia’s Vladimir Sidorenko in the round of 64.

However, the remaining three Indian men’s singles players – Sharath Kamal, Anthony Amalraj and Harmeet Desai, lost their respective first round matches.

The four-time Olympian lost to Belgium’s Cedric Nuytinck 1-4 (11-9, 5-11, 6-11, 7-11, 9-11) while Harmeet Desai was blanked 4-0 (9-11, 7-11, 7-11, 4-11) by German player Benedikt Duda.

Meanwhile, 35-year-old Amalraj went down to Nigeria’s 41 years old Bode Abiodun 3-4 (6-11, 11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 12-10, 9-11, 6-11) in a contest of veterans.

In the women’s singles, both of India’s Tokyo Olympians – Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee had disappointing outings.

Batra, India’s best-ranked women’s player, went down 3-4 (11-5, 15-13, 8-11, 4-11, 6-11, 11-4, 7-11) to Brazilian youngster Bruna Takahashi. On the other hand, Sutirtha Mukherjee lost 1-4 (11-8, 4-11, 5-11, 0-11, 4-11) to South Korea’s Choi Hyo-joo.

India’s Madhurika Patkar also fell to Japan’s Saki Shibata 0-4 (7-11, 4-11, 3-11, 8-11).

Youngster Ayhika Mukherjee emerged as India’s only victor in the women’s singles as she beat Egypt’s Farah Abdel-Aziz 4-2 (11-7, 14-16, 8-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-6). Ayhika will now face opponent Japan’s Hina Hayata, the current world No 18 in the round of 64.

In mixed doubles, Sharath Kamal and Archana Kamath beat the Algerian pair of Sami Kherouf and Katia Kessaci 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-7). The other Indian mixed doubles team comprising Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra got a bye in the round of 64.

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