Manika Batra and Archana Kamath, along with upcoming talent Diya Chitale, represent the present and future of Indian women’s table tennis.
Now that the competitions are back after 11 months, their performances this week will reflect their hard work done during the COVID-break.
On Tuesday, the trio won their opening round matches in the National table tennis championship at Panchkula near here, in contrasting styles.
If former champion Manika and Archana looked rusty for the better part of campaign-openers, the reigning National youth and junior champion Diya gave nothing away to Tamil Nadu girl N. Vidya.
Manika survived three game-points in the first set, a five-point deficit in the second and a dropped fourth set to stop Andhra’s Kajol Ramjali. Archana looked far from convincing during her 4-2 victory over Swastika Ghosh, a junior international with a bright future.
Another ex-winner National champion K. Shamini could not find the high gear and made a first-round exit. Looking vulnerable throughout the league phase, Shamini could not match Telangana youngster Varuni Jaiswal’a firepower on this day.
Unlike Shamini, former champions Madhurika Patkar and Ankita Das found their lost touch in time to win in six games against Yashaswini Ghorpade and Snehal Patil.
Seeded 15, Reeth Rishya tossed away two match-points in the fifth game against a fighting Munmun Ghosh before getting her act right in the deciding seventh game for a 4-3 victory.
- IND vs AUS: Maxwell concedes 30 runs off last over as India scores mammoth 222 against Australia in 3rd T20I
- Ruturaj Gaikwad smashes maiden international century; becomes first Indian to score T20I hundred against Australia
- Glenn Maxwell hits joint-fastest T20I century by an Australian
- IND vs AUS: Deepak Chahar added to India’s squad for T20I series against Australia
- Meg Lanning retires: The story of a successful career spent searching for balance