Manika Batra, Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee record comfortable victories in the opening round, while the Men’s team finish fifth.
In their opening-round matches, three of the five Indians registered comfortable wins at the GOR Among Rogo Stadium in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Manika Batra kick-started India’s run with a fine 3-0 win over Batsaikhan Khongorzul of Mongolia. The match which lasted for about 15 minutes saw the top-ranked Indian barely give her opponent any chance to have her say as she pocketed the tie 11-8, 11-4, 11-4.
Later, though Ayhika Mukherjee dropped a game in her match-up against Philippines’ Angelou Joyce Laude, the Indian had enough in her reserves to get past the opening hurdle without much trouble. She won the match 11-5, 11-7, 6-11, 11-6.
Sutirtha Mukherjee too was forced to lose a game before wrapping up her first-round match against Bolor-Erdene Batmunkh of Mongolia. The Indian registered an 11-3, 11-6, 5-11, 11-7 win to move ahead in the competition.
Meanwhile, the Indian men’s team came up with a fine display to beat Hong Kong in their 5/6th classification game in the team event.
Leading the charge for the Indians was their top-ranked player in the singles category, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran who was in fine form to record a commanding win over his opponent on Wednesday.
Up against Kwan Man Ho, even though the 26-year-old lost a game, he barely lost any control of the match as he wrapped up the tie 11-5, 11-13, 11-7, 14-12.
While Anthony Amalraj came from a game down to beat Ng Pak Nam 9-11, 11-4, 11-6, 11-7, Sharath Kamal had to fight till the very end to seal his win over Lam Siu Hang.
In what was a topsy-turvy encounter, the Indian began by dropping the opening game, only to come back and draw level with an 11-6 win in the second. Siu Hang was in no mood to let the tie go easily as he took the third 11-7. But Kamal seemed to reserve his best for the last and went on to win the following two games and the match 9-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7.
The fifth-place finish at the 2019 event also means the Indian men’s team will begin their 2021 Asian Championships from the quarterfinals stage in the Champion Division.