India paddlers register easy 1st round win in Asian WTTC Continental Stage


India`s Manika Batra won her first round match of the Asian WTTC Continental Stage with considerable ease while scripting a 11-2,11-3,11-2,11-7 win over Magdieva Markhabo of Uzbekistan on Sunday at the Lusail Sports Complex in Doha.

The Qatar event, the first competition of the 2023 season, will act as a qualifying stage for the World Championships to be held in Durban, South Africa, in May 2023. Action will heat up on Tuesday with most of the top ranked players from Asia having got a bye into the second round of the men`s and women`s event.

On Monday, men`s doubles, women`s doubles and the mixed doubles matches will take place starting from 10 a.m. Doha time.

On Sunday, India`s highest-ranked paddler in the tournament, Batra took just 19 minutes to win the contest 4-0. The World No.35 will take on Zhu Chengzhu of Hong Kong on Monday.

Chengzhu, ranked 93 on the ITTF computer, defeated Sri lanka`s Bandara Bimandee in straight games to set up the challenge with India`s Batra.

Elsewhere, the other women players in the fray Sreeja Akula, Diya Chitale, Reeth Tennison and Swastika Ghosh all won their matches and made it to the next stage.

Akula overcame the Amruta Phadke of Bahrain, Chitale got the better of Mirkadirova Sarvinoz (Kazakhstan) by 4-0, Tennison defeated Zhang Wanling of Singapore by 4-1 and Ghosh overcame Akasheva Zauresh (Kazakhstan) by 4-1.

In the men`s section, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Achanta Sarath Kamal, Manush Utpal Shah, Sanil Shetty and Harmeet Desai all won their respective matches and will play their second round matches on Tuesday.

Also read: Manika Batra becomes first Indian woman to reach Asian Cup TT semifinals

Desai defeated Abdulla Albalooshi of UAE, 4-2, while Shah also registered an identical win over Alan Kurmangaliyev of Kazakhstan. Shetty had a close 4-3 success against Amir Hossein Hodaei of Iran while Gnanasekaran kept his cool to register a fighting 4-3-win over Izaac Quek of Singapore.

Veteran Kamal stormed to the next round with a fluent 4-0 win over Jann Mari Nayre of Philippines.

Indian players will also be seen in action in the Women`s Doubles through the pair of Batra and Archana Kamath while the second double combination will comprise of Akula and Tennison.

The Mixed Doubles will see Batra pairing up with Sathiyanand Kamal playing alongside Akula while the men`s pair include Men`s Doubles pairs consisting of Sathiyan/Kamal and Desai/ Shah.

As many as 115 players representing 20 countries, including 58 players in men`s singles, 50 players in women`s singles, 24 players in men`s doubles, and 19 players.

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