ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup: Manika Batra overwhelms Chen Szu-Yu to reach semifinal

Manika will take on Mima Ito of Japan, the second seed, in the semifinals on Saturday. The Japanese eased past Jeon Jihee of Korea, the sixth seed, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10, 15-13.

FILE PHOTO: Manika Batra in action against D. Pranitha during the women’s singles second round table tennis match at the 36th National Games, at Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Indoor Stadium in Surat, Gujarat on September 22, 2022.

FILE PHOTO: Manika Batra in action against D. Pranitha during the women’s singles second round table tennis match at the 36th National Games, at Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Indoor Stadium in Surat, Gujarat on September 22, 2022. | Photo Credit: A.M. Faruqui

Manika will take on Mima Ito of Japan, the second seed, in the semifinals on Saturday. The Japanese eased past Jeon Jihee of Korea, the sixth seed, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10, 15-13.

Continuing her fantastic form in the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup, Indian table tennis player Manika Batra ousted eighth seed and world no. 23 Chen Szu-Yu of Taipei 4-3 (6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11, 11-9) and reached semifinals here on Friday.

Manika, ranked 44th, will take on Mima Ito of Japan, the second seed, in the last-four clash on Saturday. The Japanese eased past Jeon Jihee of Korea, the sixth seed, 11-8, 11-5, 12-10, 15-13.

This is the first time an Indian paddler reached the semifinal of the marquee event in its 39 years. Achanta Sharath Kamal and G Sathiyan finished sixth in the 2015 and 2019 editions of the quadrennial event.

The 27-year-old showed exemplary footwork, attacking forehand and resolute defence to beat Szu-Yu.

Trailing by one game to three, Chen worked around her serves and with an attacking forehand to boot, she wriggled out of tough situations to equalise at three-game each.

In the decider, Manika never relented from going for her shots that put Chen under immense pressure. The former Commonwealth Games gold medallist had two matchpoints and clinched the match on her second match point when Chen’s backhand went long.

In the end, it was Manika’s angles on the backhand, her relentless attack on the forehand side, and backhand sidespin serves at crucial junctures helped her win the match.

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