Lasko (Slovenia), Nov 7 : India’s Manika Batra remained on course for a grand double at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender event in Lasko, Slovenia, reaching the semi-finals in the women’s singles and the final in women’s doubles with compatriot Archana Girish Kamath
In the women’s singles quarter-final played on Saturday, Manika Batra overcame a tough challenge from Romania’s Bernadette Szocs, beating her rival 3-2, coming back from 1-2 deficit in a well-fought encounter. Manika eventually won the match 11-8, 4-11, 5-11,11-8, 11-7 to seal a place in the last-four stage at the Sports Hall Tri Lilije.
Manika Batra, ranked 58th in the World, started well on Saturday afternoon and won the first game but lost the next two games 4-11 and 5-11, and was staring at defeat. However, the Indian star, a gold medallist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, came back strongly in the fourth game and from 4-4, surged ahead to win the game at 11-8, overcoming a stiff challenge from the Romanian opponent.
In the decider, Manika, who represented the country in the Tokyo Olympics, opened a small lead at 6-4 and slowly build on it to extend it to 10-7 before clinching the issue on the first match point for a morale-boosting 3-2 win and a place in the semi-finals. She will next meet China’s World No. 11 Wang Yidi in the semi-final. The other semi-final will pit Germany’s Sabrine Winter and China’s Liu Weishan.
Earlier on Friday night, Manika and Archana upset China’s Liu Weishan and Wang Zidi 3-2 (11-8, 8-11, 11-6, 5-11, 11-8) in the women’s doubles semi-finals.
The two pairs traded games as the Indians won the first and third while the Chinese levelled scores twice by winning the second and fourth games.0
In the decider, Manika Batra and Archana conceded an early lead and were forced to take a time-out at 0-3 down. Things did not improve much as the Chinese stretched the lead to 7-2 when the Indians launched a brilliant comeback.
They levlled the score at 7-7 and took lead at 8-7, forcing their opponents to commit mistakes. The Chinese duo levelled scores at 8-8 but Manika and Archana won the next three points to seal victory and a place in the final.
They will meet Puerto Rican sisters Melanie and Adriana Diaz, who defeated Singapore’s Lin Ye and Zeng Jian 3-1 (11-8, 8-11, 11-5, 11-3) to seal a place in Sunday’s final.