Ahmedabad, September 15: Manika Batra, with three consecutive wins in her group D, brought some smile back on the face of Indian fans but the hopes of A. Sharath Kamal of a World Cup berth lay shattered on a disappointing day for the Indians in the ITTF-ATTU 30th Asian Cup at the TransStadia here today.
Manika lives another day to take on Japanese Miu Hirano in the challenge round for a quarterfinal berth, but for the two male players the challenge ended here tonight. For Sharath, this must have been the worst Asia Cup outing, without a win in his group. However, did manage to take a game off Jun Mizutani in his last match of the evening.
Harmeet, on the other hand, can take heart from the fact that he did post one win out of three matches. In the first round, he beat Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al-Abbad 3-0 and in the second he ran Iran’s Nima Alamian close in the 2-3 loss.
Of course, it will be a tough ask for Manika, a first-timer in Asian Cup, to beat the player of the calibre of Hirano, who is seeded second here. But she will derive satisfaction of playing the World No. 6, who is all of 17 only.
Manika shook off her early troubles to beat Qatari Aia Mohamed 13-11, 11-8, 11-7 and then Neda Shasavari 11-5, 11-8, 11-6 before beating Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut 11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8 in a thriller. After she levelled score, the Indian took a three-point lead at 7-4 before allowing her rival a few liberties. Manika’s luck too held as he got four crucial points, three off the net cord and one from the edge of the table.
The slow start to their league match saw the players cautious in their approach with leading changing hands regularly. After deuce, Manika missed one game point but won it on the second. From there, she never looked back as the former national champion the next two games easily.
The rot set in when A. Sharath Kamal first went down to Korean Lee Sangsu 0-3 in men singles and then followed it up with the second round loss to Chinese Lin Gaoyuan in group C matches. Later in the evening Mizutani beat him 11-5, 11-3, 8-11, 11-8.
The Korean proved too hot for Sharath to handle as the ninth-seeded Indian had no answers to the fifth seed. He kept using the backhand drives forcefully down the line and clever forehands to the far left off Sharath. There was an occasion when Sharth led briefly in the second game when power interruption broke his rhythm and the Korean was back in business as he shut out the Indian rather easily.
But the story of the morning session was Taipei’s Chen Chen-An who upset top-seed Chinese Fan Zhendong in men singles in group A. The No. 9 seed, who had surprised then Olympic champion Zhang Jike a few years ago, outsmarted Fan. The Chinese had made a fine recovery and went up 8-5. But he let Chen-An claw his way back and level at 8-8. A service error saw the Taipei paddler go 9-8 up and from there the match was going only one way as Chen-An won 13-11, 11-7, 6-11, 9-11, 11-8.
Similarly, there was yet another upset when Chen Szu-Yu of Taipei shocked Feng Tianwei of Singapore 3-2 in a see-saw women singles battle. Feng, who is no stranger to India, was at Jaipur two years ago and had a top-of-the-podium finish beating Liu.
List of Qualifiers:
Group A: Koki Niwa (JPN), Fan Zhendong (CHN); Group B: Chuang Chih-Yuan (TPE), Jeong Sanguen (KOR); Group C: Jun Mizutani (JPN), Lin Gaoyuan (CHN).
Group A: Zhu Yuling (CHN), Doom Hoi Kem (HKG); Group B: Liu Shiwen (CHN), Cheng I-Ching (TPE); Group C: Kasumi Ishikawa (JPN), Chen Szu-Yu (TPE).
Men: Noshad Alamiyan (IRI) vs Lee Sangsu (KOR), Nima Alamian (IRI) vs Chen Chien-An (TPE).
Women: Miu Hirano (JPN) vs Manika Batra (IND); Lee Ho Ching (HKG) vs Su Hyowon (KOR).
Group A (1st Round): Chen Chien-An (Tpe) bt Fan Zhendong (Chn) 3-2, Koki Niwa (Jpn) bt Ho Kwan Kit (Hkg) 3-2. 2nd Round: Fan Zhendong bt Koki Niwa 3-1, Chen Chien-An bt Ko Kwan Kit 3-2. 3rd Round: Koki Nawa bt Chen Chien-An 3-0, Fan Zhendong bt Ho Kwan Kit 3-0.
Group B (1st Round): Jeong Sangeun (Kor) bt Wong Chun Ting (Hkg) 3-1, Chuang Chih-Yuan (Tpe) bt Noshad Alamiyan (Iran) 3-1, 2nd Round: Chuang Chih-Yuan bt Wong Chun Ting 3-0, Jeong Sangeun bt Noshad Alamiyan 3-2. 3rd Round: Chuang Chih-Yuan bt Sangeum Jeong 3-0, Noshal Alamiyan bt Wong Chun Ting 3-2.
Group C (1st Round): Jun Mizutani (Jpn) bt Lin Gaoyuan (Chn) 3-2, Lee Sangsu (Kor) bt A. Sharath Kamal (Ind) 3-0. 2nd Round: Jun Mizutani bt Lee Sangsu 3-0, Lin Gaoyuan bt A. Sharath Kamal 3-0. 3rd Round: Jun Mizutani bt Sharath Kamal 3-1, Lin Gaoyuan bt Lee Sangsu 3-0.
Group D (1st Round): Nima Alamian (Iran) bt Padasak Tanviriyavechakul (Tha) 3-2, Harmeet Desai (Ind) bt Abdulaziz Al-Abbad (Saudi) 3-0. 2nd Round: Nima Alamian bt Harmeet Desai 3-2, Padasak Tanviriyavechakul bt Abdulaziz Al-Abbad 3-2. 3rd Round: Padasak Tanviriyavechakul 3-2, Nima Alamian bt Abdulaziz Al-abbad 3-0.
Group A (1st Round): Zhu Ling (Chn) bt Do Hoi Kem (Hkg) 3-0, Miu Hirano (Jpn) bt Yu Mengyu (Sgp) 3-1. 2nd Round: Zhu Yuling bt Miu Hiano 3-0, Doo Hoi Kem bt Yu Mengyu 3-0. 3rd Round: Zhu Yuling bt Yu Mengyu 3-0, Doo HoiKem bt Miu Hirano 3-2.
Group B (1st Round): Liu Shiwen (Chn) bt Yang Haeum (Kor) 3-0, Cheng I-Ching (Tpe) bt Lee Ho Ching (Hkg) 3-1. 2nd Round: Liu Shiwen bt Cheng I-Ching 3-0, Lee Ho Ching bt Yang Yaeum 3-2. 3rd Round: Liu Shiwen bt Lee Ho Ching 3-1,Cheng I-Ching bt Yang Haeun 3-0.
Group C (1st Round): Kasumi Ishikawa (Jpn) Suh Hyowon (Kor) 3-2, Chen Szu-Yu (Tpe) bt Feng Tianwei (Sgp) 3-2. 2nd Round: Chen Szu-Yu bt Suh Hyowon 3-1, Kasumi Ishikawa bt Feng Tianwei 3-1. 3rd Round: Kasumi Ishikawa bt Chen Szu-Yu 3-0, Suh Hyowon bt Feng Tianwei 3-2.
Group D (1st Round): Manika Batra (Ind) bt Aia Mohamed (Qat) 3-0, Suthasini Sawettabut (Tha) Neda Shasavari 3-0. 2nd Round: Suthasini Sawettabut bt Aia Mohamed 3-0, Manika Batra bt Neda Shasavari 3-0. 3rd Round: Manika Batra bt Suthasini Sawettabut 3-2.
- Rest of Information coming soon
- Manika all set to face best of Asia
- Relaxed Sharath hopes for a World Cup berth
- Positive Sharath confident of a WC berth
- Sharath disappoints; Harmeet, Manika progress
- Manika's efforts fall short of main draw needs
- Chinese men and women at it, yet again
- Lin and Zhu crowned Asian Cup champions