Tokyo 2020: India's star paddler Manika Batra fights back to progress to Round 3

Manika Batra
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Manika Batra

Highlights

  • Manika Batra overcame a 2-0 deficit in Round 2
  • She pulled off an upset by defeating a higher-ranked opponent
  • She faces a much bigger challenge she is set to play World No. 16 on Monday

India's ace paddler Manika Batra defeated Ukraine's Margaryta Pesotska to progress to the third round of Women's singles table tennis in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.

Manika took just 57 minutes to secure a 4-3 win over higher ranked Margaryta in Round 2 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym -- Table 1.

Margaryta won the opening game quite comfortably 11-4 that put instant pressure on Manika, who is ranked 63 in the world, according to the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings. The Ukraine player sealed the second game as well and inside 11 minutes, she went 2-0 up. While she needed only two more games to qualify for the third round, Manika was in a do or die position.

Fortunately for the Indian contingent, their ace paddler thrived under pressure as she sealed the third game 11-7. The fourth game between the two talented players went neck-to-neck before Manika equallised at 2-2 by claiming the fourth game that lasted for 11 minutes.

The higher-ranked Margaryta showed her class once again as she went closer to sealing Round 2 as she grabbed the fifth game 11-8. From there, she needed just one more game to secure the match and Mainka had no choice but to win the final two games to be alive in the women's singles event in Tokyo.

By winning the sixth game 11-5, Manika once again equallised at 3-3 with the seventh game being the decider of Round 2. Against all odds, Manika dominated the final game, winning it 11-7 and progressed to Round 3.

Manika faces a huge challenge ahead of the third round where she is set to face World No. 16 Sofia Polcanova of Austria on Monday.

Earlier on Sunday, India paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran bowed out of the men's singles event after losing to Hong Kong's Lam Siu Hang 4-3 at Tokyo Metropolitan Gym -- Table 4 in the Tokyo Games 2020.

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