Event Section
Manika's efforts fall short of main draw needs


Ahmedabad, September 16: Manika Batra could not sustain the pace and guile of Miu Hirano and went down 1-3 (7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 6-11) in 20 minutes flat to end the Indian ordeal in the ITTF-ATTU 30th Asian Cup at the TransStadia here this morning.


The world No. 6 and second-seeded Japanese, who finished third in her group because of a tie, had to play the challenge round and without showing any dissatisfaction she set herself up nicely for the bigger challenges ahead.



Miu Hirano beat Manika Batra in the playoff on Saturday morning


No doubt, the Indian qualified for the Asian Cup through regional quota but justified every bit of her selection and put up a brave show. But unable to bear the burden of the combination drives—the Japanese’s forehand packs a lot of punch—and clever use of the flanks, Manika was more than hampered. Manika’s counter and blocks had little effect on the 17-year-old and yet the former national champion managed to stretch her opponent in every game than expected, including taking a game off her.


Coach Massimo Costantini seemed satisfied with the progress of Manika when he said: “We knew the result, but I must say I am impressed with the way she fought against Hirano.”


In the second match, Su Hyowon of Korea accounted for Lee Ho Ching of Hong Kong 3-1 to enter the main draw.


In men singles challenge playoff, Lee Sangsu, who beat Sharath Kamal yesterday, defeated Noshad Alamiyan from Iran in a tough match that went down to the wire. The Korean won 3-2 to advance into the last-eight stages along with Taipei’s Chen Chien-An. The latter beat Nima Alamian 3-1, also from Iran.




Playoff Challenge:


Men: Lee Sangsu (KOR) bt Noshad Alamiyan (IRI) 11-4, 10-12, 11-13, 11-2, 12-10, Chen Chien-An (TPE) bt Nima Alamian (IRI) 11-5, 4-11, 11-8, 11-7.


Women: Miu Hirano (JPN) bt Manika Batra (IND) 11-7, 8-11, 11-8, 11-6; Su Hyowon (KOR) bt Lee Ho Ching (HKG) 11-9, 11-13, 11-9, 11-9.