ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup: Manika pulls off upset after defeating China’s Chen Xingtong

Manika Batra pulled off a magnificent upset 4-3 (8-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-6, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9) victory over Chen Xingtong of China, the fourth seed, in the first round (round-of-16) of the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup table tennis tournament held here on Wednesday.

Earlier, G. Sathiyan bowed out in the men’s first round to Yukiya Uda of Japan (4-3) 11-9, 11-8, 7-11, 9-11,11-6, 10-12, 11-6.

The fantastic win over the Chinese, ranked World No.7, earned Manika a place in the quarterfinals where she will take on the winner of the contest between Thailand’s Suthasini Sawettabut and Chen Szu-Yu (Taipei).

Trailing by 1 game to 3, Chen fought back by winning the fifth and sixth games to take the match to the decider. In the seventh game, the Indian took a 5-2, 8-3 and was coasting to victory when Chen levelled the scores at 9-9. She made two consecutive errors, with her backhand shot kissing the net giving the Indian a well-deserved triumph.

Manika, ranked 44 in the world, was at her best today, both in terms of movement and strokes. After equalising at 1-1, Manika’s confidence and game took a different dimension from the third game. She was moving really well and converting backhands to forehands, and was twiddling her racquet, which confused Chen with the spin on her pimpled rubber (backhand).

Later in the evening. the other Indian in the draw, Sharath Kamal will take on Noshad Alamiyan of Iran in the first round.

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