UTT: Batra shines as Dabang Smashers enters semifinals

Continuing her sensational run in the tournament so far, the current World No. 80, Manika, gave ample display of her talent to prevail over Lee.

Manika Batra lost the first game but recovered well to win the next two games. (File Photo)   -  Vivek Bendre

Manika Batra made a spectacular return to form downing the World No. 20 Lee Ho Ching of Hong Kong 2-1 to lead Dabang Smashers to a 15-6 win in aggregate over Empowerji Challengers in the Ultimate Table Tennis in Kolkata on Tuesday.

With the win Smashers tallied 63 points and became the first team to qualify for the semifinals.

Continuing her sensational run in the tournament so far, the current World No. 80, Manika, gave ample display of her talent to prevail over Lee.

Manika lost the first game 7-11 but recovered well in the second to win it 11-9. Her best came in the final game where she recovered from being down 7-10 to turn tables on her much higher-ranked opponent (11-10).

"The best comes out of me when I am down,” Manika, who had downed World No. 18 Sofia Polcanova of Warriors TTC in her first match said. She went down to World No. 19 Elizabeta Samara of Maharashtra United in the previous tie before downing Lee.

Young Manav Thakkar got the better of World No. 27 Yoshida Masaki of Japan 2-1 to help Challengers level the scores 3-3 after two matches.

But Smashers appeared in no mood to look back from this position as G. Sathiyan anchored the team to two more wins.

Sathiyan paired with Sakura Mori to win the mixed doubles against the Challengers’ team of Arjun Ghosh and Lee Ho Ching before Yoshoida Masaki made a strong return to blank World No. 12 Simon Gauzy of France 3-0 and establish an 8-4 lead for the Smashers.

Gauzy, who is the highest ranked player in the tournament, pulled out of his second rubber as Sathiyan beat his replacement Manav in the sixth game.

Dabang Smashers TTC bt Empowerji Challengers 15-6

(Manika Batra bt Lee Ho Ching 7-11, 11-9, 11-10; Yoshida Masaki lost to Manav Thakkar 10-11, 11-5, 9-11; G Sathiyan/ Sakura Mori bt Arjun Ghosh/ Lee Ho Ching 11-4, 10-11, 10-11, Yoshida Masaki bt Simon Gauzy 11-8, 11-7, 11-10; Sakura Mori bt Georgina Pota 11-10, 11-9, 7-11, G. Sathiyan bt Manav Thakkar 8-11, 11-6, 11-5; Adriana Diaz bt Divya Deshpande 11-6, 11-4, 11-10.)

Points (after five rounds): Smashers 63; Empowerji Challengers 42.

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.