Table Tennis: Manika-Sathiyan pair wins WTT Contender mixed doubles title

8/20/2021
The Indian pair of Manika Batra and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran won the mixed doubles title at the WTT Contender event in Budapest on Friday.

Manika and Sathiyan beat top seeds Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz of Hungary 11-9, 9-11, 12-10 and 11-6 to become the first table tennis players from India to win a WTT Contender title.

In the final played on Friday, the Indian pair took a 1-0 lead quickly. In the second game, Manika and Sathiyan were trailing 4-7. The duo came back to tie the score at 8-8 and then 9-9. But two errors allowed their Hungarian opponents to win the second game.

The third game saw Manika and Sathiyan leading 9-7. But they conceded the next three points and were down a game point. However, Manika and Sathiyan called for a timeout, allowing the duo to recollect their thoughts and won the game 12-10.

Manika and Sathiyan forced the Hungarian pair, ranked seventh in the World to make errors in the fourth game. They won the game 11-6 and with it, the match as well, gaining 400 points.

This was the first time that Manika and Sathiyan paired together since winning the bronze medal in the mixed doubles event of the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast in Australia.

Manika had partnered veteran Achanta Sharath Kamal at the Jakarta Asian Games, where the duo bagged a bronze medal, and the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics from which they came back empty handed.

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