Indian women progress to knock-out phase of World TT C’ships with win over Spain


PTI, Feb 20, 2024, 6:55 PM IST

Manika Batra (Credit: PTI)

Busan: The Indian women’s team came from behind to beat Spain 3-2 in its final group game and progressed to the knock-out phase of the World Table Tennis Team Championships here on Tuesday.

India, the stronger team on paper, were pushed against the wall but found a way to scrape past the Spaniards after Sreeja Akula and Manika Batra lost the first two singles of the tie.

After Ayhika Mukherjee kept India in the contest with a win in the third singles, Manika and Sreeja returned to get the job done in the fourth and fifth singles.

India finished second behind China in Group 1 with three wins in four games. Their only loss, albeit a narrow one, came against the mighty Chinese after Ayhika and Sreeja stunned the world number one and two, Sun Yinghsa and Wang Yidi, respectively.

Out the 40 teams taking part in the competition, India women were among the 24 sides to qualify for the knock-out phase. A quarterfinal finish in the event will assure India of a place in the team event of the Paris Olympics.

India will need to win their round of 32 and subsequent round of 16 rubber to reach the last eight to qualify for the Olympics.

Sreeja lost the opening singles to Maria Xiao 9-11, 11-9, 11-13, 4-11. Sofia-Xuan Zhang made it 2-0 for Spain with a 13-11,6-11,8-11,11-9,11-7 win over India’s top ranked player Manika.

Ayhika kept India alive in the contest by getting past Elvira Rad 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4 in the third singles.

Manika then returned to blank Maria in the fourth singles 11-9, 11-2, 11-4 to make it 2-2. Sreeja sealed the tie with an 11-6, 11-13, 11-6, 11-3 win over Sofia-Xuan.

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