World TT Championships: Manika Batra, Mouma Das make history by becoming first Indian pair to reach quarters – In the men’s singles, top-ranked Indian Sharath Kamal storms into the round of 32.
Manika Batra (L) and Mouma Das (AFP – File Photo)
Manika Batra and Mouma Das made history by becoming the first Indian pair to reach the quarterfinals of the World Table Tennis Championships on Thursday. In the men’s singles, top-ranked Indian Sharath Kamal stormed into the round of 32 beating Ukraine s Kou Lei in straight games of 11-3, 11-9, 14-12, 11-3.
Mouma and Manika created history with luck on their side as they got a walkover from the Netherlands and Polish combination of Li Jie and Li Quian, the latter reportedly was hospitalised last night after falling sick.
“I don t know what to even feel. It s just sad that our opponents could not play the match. But at the same time, I am so elated that we have created history for our country,” said Mouma when asked about the feat.
They would now take on the No. 1 and 2 Chinese players, Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen on Friday in the quarterfinals, a lethal left and right combination.
Sharath, ranked 43 in the world, defeated the Ukrainian, ranked 24, rather easily without wasting much time. The 20th seed, however, put in his best efforts in the third game when he managed to stretch the Indian. But that was all he could do as Sharath, running into a nice rhythm, simply ran past his rival in quick time to advance. In his next round, the top-ranked Indian will meet either Austrian Habesohin or Chinese Lin Gaoyuan on Friday.
“I got into a groove very early and my backhand came off nicely. I am taking one match at a time and I am not worried about my next round opponent,” said Sharath.
In the women’s singles Manika had a tough match against Korean Kim Kyungah, seeded 27 and ranked 46 in the world, in the round of 64. The former national champion just about managed to win the first game but could not do much against the rampaging Korean who was strong on her forehand. The Korean won 3-11- 11-5, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 for a next round showdown with Chinese Zhu Yuling.