World team table tennis c’ships: India women lose to Chinese Taipei in pre-quarters

Indian women’s table tennis team lost to Chinese Taipei 1-3 in pre-quarterfinals of the World Team table tennis Championships.

Published : Feb 21, 2024 17:00 IST , Chennai - 2 MINS READ

India’s Manika Batra in action.
India’s Manika Batra in action. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

India’s Manika Batra in action. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The Indian team’s chances of making it to the quarterfinals in the women’s section and its hopes of qualifying for the Paris Olympics became extremely narrow as it lost to fourth-seeded Chinese Taipei 1-3 in the pre-quarterfinals of the World Team table tennis championships in Busan on Wednesday.

Against a team that has a World No.10 player in Chen I-Ching and Chen Szu-Yu, ranked 41 in the world, but one who was ranked No.10 in 2018, it was always going to be difficult for India, seeded 17.

Credit to India for putting up a fight in every rubber. Be it Manika Batra, Sreeja Akula or Ayhika Mukherjee, they gave their all in their quest to make it to the last eight.

If at all there was any hope, it rested on Manika, India’s top-ranked paddler at 36, and she did her best. The 28-year-old former Commonwealth Games singles champion came up with one of her best performances in the first rubber against Chen Szu-Yu. She was matching Chen from the back of the table and came up with some deadly forehand winners. In the fifth and final game, Manika fought for every point and emerged a deserving winner.

READ | World team table tennis c’ships: India men edge out Kazakhstan to enter Round of 16

Sreeja, too, didn’t give up without a fight against Ching in the second rubber. In fact, in the second game, the Indian showed her relentless defence, but the World No.10 was always a step ahead. Ching won in three straight games.

Ayhika Mukherjee, who provided the team with a lifeline in its Group match against Spain, failed to subdue the attacking instincts of Li Yu-Jhun as she lost in four games in the third tie.

With India trailing 1-2, Manika was up against Ching in the fourth. After losing a close first game, the Indians played an outstanding attacking game to win the second 11-5. The third game was very close and could have gone either way. At 10-9, Ching came up with a backhand winner. The fourth game turned out to be one-sided the moment Ching raced to a 5-0 and 8-1 lead.

The results (round of 16):

Women: Chinese Taipei bt India 3-1 (Chen Szu-Yu lost to Manika Batra 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 9-11, 9-11; Chen I-Ching bt Sreeja Akula 11-6, 11-9, 11-5; Li Yu-Jhun bt Ayhika Mukherjee 12-10, 15-13, 9-11, 11-2; Chen I-Ching bt Manika 12-10, 5-11, 11-9, 11-5).

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