ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open took a cracker start for the Indian contingent with the Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra stunning World No. 26 Chen Szu-Yu to enter the pre-quarterfinals in Budapest on Friday (February 21).
The men’s singles event too saw a winner in the country’s no.1 table tennis player Gnanasekaran Sathiyan who cruised into the pre-quarterfinals with a 4-0 (11-6, 11-6, 11-9, 11-2) drubbing of World No. 61 Noshad Alamiyan of Iran.
The 24-year-old Manika, who is placed at 67th in the ITTF world rankings, dug deep and held her nerves to edge out Chen 4-3 (9-11, 4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-7, 14-12) in a dramatic match at the Olympic Hall.
In a resilient display, the Indian qualifier fought back after being three games down and facing a match point in the fourth to win the next four games, leaving her much-fancied 11th seeded Chinese Taipei opponent shell-shocked.
Batra faces World No. 11 Hirano Miu, next in her quest for a quarter-final berth.
World No. 30 Sathiyan, who was simply brilliant against Alamiyan, will take on World No. 5 Harimoto Tomokazu of Japan in his round of 16 match.
Sathiyan will also be in contention for a semi-final berth in men’s doubles as he and his partner Achanta Sharath Kamal faces Hungary’s World No. 132 Adam Szudi and World No. 142 Nandor Ecseki in the quarter-finals.
Manika and Sharath Kamal, meanwhile, have got a walkover into the mixed doubles semi-finals and they will now take on the German combination of Patrick Franziska and Petrissa Solja.
(With inputs from agencies)