Table Tennis: Manika, Sharath, Sathiyan advance to pre-quarterfinals


Star Indian paddlers Manika Batra, Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan dominated their opponents en route their pre-quarterfinals entry in the table tennis competition at the Asian Games here on Thursday.
Sharath, a team bronze winner in 2018 Asian Games, never gave a chance to Mohammed Shaffan Ismail, his opponent from Maldives before winning 11-9, 11-2, 11-7, 11-7.
Sathiyan, who had won a bronze medal in the team event in Jakarta Games 2018, too was equally overwhelming against Turki Lafi Almutairi of Saudi Arabia while registering a 11-5, 11-6, 11-9, 11-2 victory.
The Saudi player tried to claw his way back in the third set going closer to the Indian at 9-7, but Sathiyan’s experience proved at the crucial juncture.
In the fourth game, Sathiyan just brushed aside his rival giving away just two points.
Manika, a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and a bronze winner in mixed doubles at the Jakarta Asian Games, blanked Nabita Shresthta of Nepal 4-0 (11-5, 11-4, 11-3, 11-2) in just 20 minutes to set up a clash with Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut.
However, Sreeja Akula faced a humiliating defeat to North Korea’s Songgyong Pyon 0-4 (6-11, 4-11, 13-15, 9-11) to bow out of the competition.
India fared better in the women’s doubles. Sreeja and Diya Chitale defeated Vietnam’s Ngoc Tran Mai and Nga Nguyen Thi 3-0 (11-8, 15-13, 11-6). Sutirtha Mukherjee teamed up with Ayhika Mukherjee to seal their place in the pre-quarters after defeating Kazakhstan 3-0.