WTT Contender series: Sathiyan to meet Quadri; Manika fails to qualify

Newly-crowned national champion G. Sathiyan will open his campaign against Commonwealth Games silver medallist Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri in the World Table Tennis Contender tournament in Doha on Wednesday.

Sharath Kamal, who is drawn to meet Sathiyan in the quarterfinals, plays a yet-to-be-named qualifier in the first round.

Looking ahead to his campaign, Sathiyan told Sportstar, “I’m excited to play my first international singles match after a year. I think I have not played him (Quadri) in a competition. It will be a tough match, for sure. But I’m high on confidence after the National title and will put my best foot forward. I will discuss my strategies with my coach, Raman Sir.”

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In fact, Sathiyan and Sutirtha Mukherjee advanced to the mixed doubles main draw to play the French pair of Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jia Nan in the opening round, but Sharath and Manika Batra crashed out in four games after they came together for their second round of the qualifying phase.

Sathiyan and Sharath open their men’s doubles campaign against Argentina’s Gaston Alto and Horacio Cifuentes.

Manika, Sreeja fail to qualify

Meanwhile, Manika and Sreeja Akula tumbled at the last hurdle of the
qualifying rounds.

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Ranked 63rd, Manika beat 124th-ranked Sofia-Xuan Zhang (Spain) and 98th-ranked Irina Ciobanu (Romania) in straight games but met her match in Gana Gaponova. The Ukrainian won 11-5, 11-6, 12-14, 11-5 for a place in the main round. In contrast, Sreeja gave a far better account of herself by beating two higher-ranked players and moving within winning a game of reaching the main draw.

Ranked 150th, Sreeja exceeded expectations when she blanked 74th-ranked Vega Pauline (Chile) 11-5, 11-9, 11-6 and then packed off 87th-ranked Orawan Paranang  (Thailand) 11-5, 11-5, 11-6. However, in the final qualifying round, 123rd-ranked Maria Tailakova (Russia) rallied to beat Sreeja 11-9, 5-11. 6-11, 11-6, 11-5.

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