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India’s Manika, Sreeja, Archana enter pre-quarters at WTT Star Contender 2024; World No. 7 Calderano also progresses

Indian paddlers Manika Batra, Sreeja Akula and Archana Kamath pulled off stunning victories to reach the women’s singles pre-quarter-finals in the ongoing World Table Tennis (WTT) Star Contender Goa 2024 at the Peddem Indoor Stadium in Mapusa.

Star Indian paddler Batra, who’s ranked 38 in the world, looked in complete control of the match from the start as she won the contest by 3-1 (11-6, 9-11, 11-9, 11-7) comfortably against South Korea’s Suh Hyo Won.

The 25-year-old paddler from Hyderabad Akula also continued her brilliant form and showcased sublime shots on both sides of the table to shock the World No. 30 Hana Goda of Egypt 3-0 (11-8, 11-6, 14-12) in straight games to progress further in the tournament.

Earlier, Kamath registered a thrilling win over Portugal’s World No. 53 Jieni Shao. The 23-year-old from Bengaluru, who is currently ranked 134 in the world, had a slow start to the round-of-32 match as she lost the first game against the higher-ranked and experienced opponent Jieni. However, Archana made a remarkable comeback, winning the next two games before clinching the match by 3-2 (9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 8-11, 11-5).

On the other hand, Yashaswini Ghorpade faced a 0-3 (1-11, 5-11, 5-11) defeat to World No. 13 Monaco’s Xiaoxin Yang in the women’s singles Last-32 match.

The Top-2 seeds in the men’s singles category, World No. 7 Hugo Calderano and World Number 8 France’s Felix Lebrun lived up to the expectations and progressed into the round-of-16 with comfortable wins against Kang Dongsoo (11-8, 11-8, 11-3) and Park Gyuhyeon (11-6, 13-11, 18-16) respectively.

France’s Prithika Pavade registered a come-from-behind win by 3-2 (9-11, 9-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-3) against Ryu Hanna in the round-of-32 of the women’s singles category, while World No. 8 Shin Yubin of South Korea defeated compatriot Choi Hyojoo 3-2 (11-5, 7-11, 12-10, 3-11, 11-4) in a thriller.

Meanwhile, the Indian pair of Manav Thakkar and Manush Shah exit the tournament after facing a 1-3 (7-11, 11-7, 8-11, 9-11) defeat against Kao Cheng-jui and Chuang Chih-yuan of Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles category.

In the last-8 of the women’s doubles category, South Korea’s Shin Yubin and Eon Jihee beat Sayali Wani and Taneesha Kotecha 3-0 (11-2, 12-10, 11-2) whereas pair of Diya Chitale and Akula also faced a 0-3 (9-11, 8-11, 8-11) defeat against Cheng I-ching and Li Yu-jhun of Chinese Taipei.

Manush and Diya fought hard in their quarter-final of the mixed doubles category before going down 2-3 (5-11, 11-6, 14-12, 8-11, 6-11) to the Spanish pair of Alvaro Robles and Maria Xiao.

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