Manika Batra creates history, dominates World No.14 in R16 at Saudi Smash 2024


Indian table tennis star Manika Batra has made history at the Saudi Smash 2024, becoming the first Indian player to reach the quarter-finals of a singles event at a World Table Tennis (WTT) Grand Smash tournament.

Manika Batra stuns World No.14

Batra, currently ranked 39th in the world, stunned the table tennis community by defeating world No. 14 Nina Mittelham of Germany in the women’s singles round of 16. The match, held at the Infinity Arena in King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, saw Batra secure a decisive 3-0 victory with game scores of 11-6, 11-9, and 11-7. This victory marked Batra’s first win over Mittelham in their four meetings.

Prior to this, Batra had already turned heads by defeating world No. 2 Wang Manyu of China in the second round. She began her campaign with a 3-0 win over Romania’s Andreea Dragoman. These victories have not only propelled Batra to new heights in the tournament but also promise to boost her world ranking.

A tough challenge awaits for Manika Batra in quarters

In the quarter-finals, Batra is set to face Japan’s world No. 5 Hina Hayata, a former Asian champion and multiple World Championships medalist. The two have faced each other thrice before, with Hayata recording two wins.

Despite losing her status as the top-ranked Indian female player to Sreeja Akula recently, Batra is set to regain her position as India’s No. 1 following her impressive run in Jeddah.

The WTT Grand Smash, running since 2021, is a marquee table tennis event on the lines of a Grand Slam in tennis. While other Indian players like Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula were ousted in the opening round of the men’s and women’s singles respectively, and the mixed doubles pair of Harmeet Desai and Yashaswini Ghorpade were knocked out in the quarter-finals, Batra’s continued presence in the tournament keeps Indian hopes alive.

As the Saudi Smash 2024 concludes on Saturday, all eyes will be on Manika Batra as she continues her historic run. Regardless of the outcome, her performance in this tournament has already made a significant impact.

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