Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula handed tough draws at the ITTF Singles World Cup in Macao

Manika Batra

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Singles World Cup in Macao, scheduled for April 15-21, 2024, is set to be a thrilling showdown. Among the participants are India’s top table tennis players, Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula. Both players have been handed tough draws, setting the stage for intense battles.

Tough challenge for Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula

Manika Batra, who has qualified for both the Singles and Mixed Doubles categories, is a prominent figure in Indian table tennis. However, her recent performances have been a mix of highs and lows. Despite these challenges, Manika’s skill and experience make her a formidable competitor.

World no. 38 Manika, the top-ranked Indian paddler placed in Group 2, will face off against world no. 2 Wang Manyu of China and world no. 45 Adina Diaconu of Romania in the first stage.

Manika, who has recently failed to secure mixed doubles quota place with G Sathiyan for the Paris Olympics at the World Mixed Doubles Qualification, will take on Manyu, who beat the Indian star 3-1 (11-3, 11-8, 13-15, 11-7) at the World Table Tennis Team Championships in February in what was their first meeting.

On the other hand, World No. 40 Sreeja, in contention, to displace Manika as India’s no.1, will also have her task cut out against defending champion and world no. 4 Chen Meng in Group 4. Her other match in the group will be against world no. 51 Natalia Bajor of Poland.

Sreeja Akula
Sreeja Akula

There are a total of 16 groups each in men’s and women’s singles, with an expanded field of 48 players each in two categories taking part in the tournament compared to previous World Cups. Manika and Sreeja are the only two Indians playing in the event, with India having no representation in men’s singles.

Given the nature of the draw, it would be difficult for the Indians to overcome the hurdle of the group stage. Only the group champion will advance to the second stage, which will be played in the knockout format.

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