Manika Batra beats Margaryta Pesotska to enter Round 3, Sathiyan knocked out

Indian paddler Manika Batra defeated Ukraine's Margaryta Pesotska while Sathiyan, the most consistent Indian singles paddler over the last few years, lost to a lowly ranked Hang.

India's Manika Batra serves against Margaryta Pesotska of Ukraine during her women's singles second-round table tennis match at the Tokyo Olympics.   -  AFP

Manika Batra surprised 20th seed Margaryta Pesotska of Ukraine to storm into the women’s singles third round while G. Sathiyan was stunned by Lam Siu Hang of Hong Kong in a men’s second round contest of the table tennis event on Sunday.

On Saturday, Manika had refused to let National coach Soumyadeep Roy advise her during her first round match after personal coach Sanmay Paranjape was denied access to the competition area. This forced the table tennis Team Leader M. P. Singh to publicly rebuke her.

On Sunday, however, Manika didn’t let the controversy affect her in the match against a solid opponent. Not only was Pesotska ranked 43 spots higher than Manika, the Ukrainian was also renowned for doing well against players with long pimples, like Manika.

Tokyo 2020: Manika Batra cruises into next round in women's singles event

That showed as Pesotska won the first two games in quick time. Stung by the losses, Manika changed her tactics and started playing deep in a bid to stifle her opponent. She also started unleashing forehand winners on a consistent basis. Manika's tactics and new-found confidence helped her pull level 2-2. However, she coulnd’t withstand her opponent’s onslaught in the fifth.

In the do-or-die sixth game, the lanky Indian paddler was down 2-5 when she opted for a time-out. It proved a masterstroke as she returned with renewed vigour and confidence.

She started firing on all cylinders, rattling Pesotska with a series of winners and going on to win the game 11-5.

Manika Batra: I want to shock one higher-ranked singles player in Tokyo

The decider was a seesaw affair before Manika prevailed 11-7. The final scroreline: 4-11, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7. Manika will now face 10th seed Sofia Polcanova of Australia for a place in the pre-quarterfinals.

Sathiyan bows out

While Manika survived a tough test, Sathiyan, the most consistent Indian paddler for the last few years, fell to a lower-ranked Hang. The World No. 95 had lost both his previous matches against Sathiyan.

The Hong Kong player staged a stupendous comeback after being on the verge of defeat at 1-3 games down.

While Hang had every reason to celebrate, Sathiyan - whose personal coach S. Raman wasn’t allowed to travel to Tokyo - would have felt disheartened to see his Olympic debut end in a 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 10-12, 6-11 loss in the round of 64 after being a game away from progressing.

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