Table Tennis:Sharath, Sathiyan and Batra  record contrasting victories in  WTT Star Contender 

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi, 8 March: Ace paddlers Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra started their campaign at the WTT Star Contender  with contrasting victories in Doha on Monday.
Sathiyan, Sharath Kamal and Batra  received  direct entries into the singles draw at the ongoing tournament.

Sharath Kamal  took time to find his rhythm as he lost the first game against Puerto Rican Brian Afanador. However the World No. 32 recovered well to gain the required momentum  and won next three games to win the match  8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-1 . The Indian will face World No. 16 Patrick Franziska of Germany in the next round on Tuesday.

World No. 37 Sathiyan staged a fine come from behind win.  He lost  first two games but  made a remarkable comeback with a counter attacking display and pulled off a sensational  9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 victory against his French opponent Emmanuael Lebesson .
He takes on World No. 5 Japanese paddler Tomokazu Harimoto in the next round .

In the women’s singles opening round match, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Batra notched up a comfortable straight-set 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 victory against Chinese Taipei’s Hsein-Tzu Cheng .Her next round opponent is  World No. 3 Mima Ito of Japan.

Earlier in the first qualifying round of men’s singles, Anthony Amalraj suffered a 6-11, 11-9, 3-11, 7-11 defeat against Mizuki Oikawa of Japan while Harmeet Desai lost to Ukraine’s Yevhen Pryshchepa  10-12, 9-11, 11-13, 9-11. 
In the women’s singles qualifiers, Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ahyika Mukherjee  lost their respective matches. Sutirtha lost the hard-fought match 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 9-11, 9-11 to Hayeong Kim of Korea, Ayhika suffered a  straight  game 5-11, 11-13, 7-11  loss against Irina Ciobanu of Romania.

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