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World TT C'ship: Indian women down Spain; enter knockouts

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 20, 2024 19:09 IST
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IMAGE: Sreeja Akula beat Sofia-Xuan Zhang to help India edge Spain 3-2 and advance to the knockout stage at the Word Table Tennis Team Championships. Photograph: World Table Tennis/Instagram

The Indian men's and women's sides registered contrasting wins in their final group games to progress to the knockout phase of the Word Table Tennis Team Championships in Busan on Tuesday.

While the Indian women's team pulled off a thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Spain, the men's side brushed aside New Zealand 3-0.


The Indian women's team, the stronger side on paper, were pushed against the wall but found a way to scrape past the Spaniards after Sreeja Akula and Manika Batra lost the first two singles of the tie.

After Ayhika Mukherjee kept India in the contest with a win in the third singles, Manika and Sreeja returned to get the job done in the fourth and fifth singles.

Sreeja lost the opening singles to Maria Xiao 9-11, 11-9, 11-13, 4-11. Sofia-Xuan Zhang made it 2-0 for Spain with a 13-11, 6-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 win over India's top ranked player Manika.

Ayhika kept India alive in the contest by getting past Elvira Rad 11-8, 11-13, 11-8, 9-11, 11-4 in the third singles.

Manika then returned to blank Maria in the fourth singles 11-9, 11-2, 11-4 to make it 2-2 before Sreeja sealed the tie with an 11-6, 11-13, 11-6, 11-3 win over Sofia-Xuan.

The Indian women finished second behind China in Group 1 with three wins from four games. Their only loss, albeit a narrow one, came against the mighty Chinese after Ayhika and Sreeja stunned world number one and two, Sun Yinghsa and Wang Yidi, respectively.

In the men's competition, National champion Harmeet Desai and Gnanasekaran Sathiyan registered facile wins against Choi Timothy and Alfred Pena Dela respectively in the opening two singles.

While Harmeet won 11-5, 11-1, 11-6, Sathiyan defeated Dela 11-3, 11-7, 11-6.

Manush Shah then rallied from two games down to pull off a 10-12, 6-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 win over Maxwell Henderson to help India finish third in Group 3 behind South Korea and Poland.

Out the 40 teams taking part in the competition, both the Indian men and women were among the 24 sides to qualify for the knock-out phase. A quarterfinal finish in the event will assure India of a place in the team event of Paris Olympics.

India will need to win their round of 32 and subsequent round of 16 rubbers to reach the last-eight round and qualify for the Olympics.


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