Indian paddler Manika Batra got off to a great start at the 2019 ITTF German Open winning her second preliminary round in straight games against Jinnipa Sawettabut of Thailand.
The 24-year-old needed just under 27 minutes to wrap up the match 11-4,11-3,11-5, 11-7 and will now face Anelia Lupulesku of Serbia in the final qualification round.
After suffering an unexpected early exit at the recently concluded Swedish Open, a determined Batra was in no mood to let that happen in Bremen as she kept her focus and did not let her Thai opponent take a lead of more than a point in the four games.
In the first two games, Batra managed to pick up eight and nine consecutive points respectively to cement her foothold on the match.
The third and fourth games were a little more closely contested in comparison, but the 24-year-old - who is the face of Indian women’s table tennis in recent times - wasn’t to be denied a win in the second preliminary round of the German Open.
Apart from Batra’s dominant second preliminary round win, it was a day of mixed results for the Indian contingent as a few of their paddlers bowed out of the competition, while the likes of Harmeet Desai, Sanil Shetty and Manav Thakkar picked up opening day victories.
Like Batra, Thakkar also managed a comfortable straight-games win with the scoreline reading 11-6,11-6,11-5,11-7 against USA’s Micheal Minh Tran. The Indian picked a massive 24 points off his opponent’s serve and always stayed on top of the game to continue his fight in the German Open.
Harmeet Desai needed six games to settle the tie against local star Nils Hohmeier, eventually coming up on top with an 11-8, 8-11,12-10,10-12,11-6,11-7 scoreline.
Sanil Shetty faced a similar tough fight against Ukranian Yevhen Pryshchepa, staying on the court for as long as 40 minutes to win the contest. The Indian prevailed 12-14, 11-8, 9-11,13-11,11-9,12-10.
India’s other female competitors though struggled in their respective preliminary round ties, with Selena Selvakumar, Madhurika Patkar, Ayhika Mukherjee and Sreeja Akula losing their matches. Among the men, Soumyajit Ghosh also suffered a first game exit in the German Open, losing in straight games against Pavel Platonov.