Indian table tennis star Manika Batra was the star of the show in the WTT Star Contender Goa, as she won her first-round matches in women’s singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles on Wednesday. Sutirtha Mukherjee was another Indian who won all her matches on the first day of the main event.
However, it was curtains for legendary Achanta Sharath Kamal, who lost his singles and doubles matches. Sharath and G Sathiyan lost their men’s doubles round of 16 matches to Koreans Jaehyun An and Seungmin Cho 3-1 (11-6,11-7,7-11,11-8). Then in the final match of the day, rising Kazakh star Kirill Gerassimenko defeated the reigning Commonwealth Games champion in straight games (3-0: 11-8,11-7,11-8).
Three Indian men’s doubles pairs including that of Sharath and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran lost their round of 16 matches to be eliminated from the tournament. The only Indian pair to win on the day was that of Harmeet Desai and Manav Thakkar, who put it across fellow Indians Ronit Bhanja and Jeet Chandra 3-2 (9-11,11-8,8-11,11-6,11-5) in five close games. The pair of Manush Shah and Snehit Suravajjula also lost 1-3 to the French duo of Bastien Lambert and Jules Rolland.
In the women’s doubles, two Indian pairs won while three others tasted defeat. Apart from Manika and Archana and Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee, the others could not make much headway. Among those to make an exit were Sreeja Akula and Diya Chitale, who went down to the Chinese Taipei pair of Cheng I-Ching and Li Yu-Jhun 0-3 (6-11,4-11,2-11). Cheng is ranked as high as 31 in the world in women’s singles. Tejaswini Ghorpade and Suhana Saini were also ousted by the Korean duo of Nayeong Kim and Cheonhui Joo in four games (3-1:6-11,4-11,11-7,7-11).