Manika Batra, G. Sathiyan win mixed doubles final at World Table Tennis Contender

Sathiyan, Manika clinched the mixed doubles crown at the World Table Tennis Contender Budapest, with an 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6 win over Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz of Hungary on Friday.

G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra couldn’t have asked for a better start to their preparations for the next Olympic cycle.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

G. Sathiyan and Manika Batra couldn’t have asked for a better start to their preparations for the next Olympic cycle.

The two clinched the mixed doubles crown at the World Table Tennis Contender Budapest, with an 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6 win over Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz of Hungary on Friday.

Sathiyan’s deft receives and nimble-footedness were backed by Manika’s attacking forehand as well as the backhand pushes and jabs on the long-pimpled rubber. In the four rounds, they lost just three games.

WTT Contender Budapest: Manika Batra loses in semifinals

Sharath Kamal in search of a playing partner  

It was clear from the start that Madarasz was the weaker of the two opponents. It put the onus on Ecseki, who wilted under pressure and made a few errors. In the third game, the Hungarians had a game point at 10-9 but couldn’t convert. That was the only time they came close to getting the better of the Indian duo.

"It was great. We didn't expect it to be this good! We just had a day to practice. My quickness on the table and Manika's intelligent play and her much-improved forehand enabled us to win the tournament," said Sathiyan.

According to Sathiyan, beating the World No.7 and the top-seeded duo of Lubomir Pistej and Barbora Balazova of Slovakia in the quarterfinals was a morale-booster. "We will next play in the WTT Doha event and the Asian TT championships," he said.

"I am very happy to win my first mixed title for India on the ITTF tour," said Manika, who is expected to return to India (New Delhi) on Saturday.

Sathiyan and Manika gained 400 points and a total amount of $1200.

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