Manika Batra keeps Indian hopes alive in Portugal Open

Sreeja Akula won her round of 64 match but couldn’t overcome Debora Vivarelli in the next round.

By Andre Pitts ·

Indian table tennis superstar Manika Batra didn’t disappoint fans on the opening day of the ITTF Portugal Open as she beat Daniela Ortega in the round of 64 before going on to dominate Xia Lian Ni in the next round.

Sreeja Akula braved it out in an exciting seven game thriller to upset Puerto Rico’s Adriana Diaz for a spot in the round of 32. However, she was unable to make it to the round of 16 after coming up short against Debora Vivarelli of Italy.

The remaining Indian table tennis players weren’t as successful and failed to make it beyond the first round. Sutirtha Mukherjee and Madhurika Patkar bowed out of the women’s singles draw, while Manav Vikash Thakkar and Sanil Shetty fell in the men’s singles draw.

Maninka Batra registers convincing win

World no. 67 in women’s singles, Manika Batra was the first Indian table tennis player in action on the opening day of the ITTF Challenge Plus, Portugal Open 2020.

The 24-year-old Manika Batra made light work of Chilean Daniela Ortega by beating her 17-15, 11-4, 12-10, 11-6 in straight games.

The Chilean paddler did show some resistance, but Manika Batra was by and large on top for most of the match and won convincingly to progress to the round of 32, where she faced Xia Lian Ni.

Manika Batra was the sole Indian table tennis star to make it to the round of 16 in the Portugal Open

India’s top female paddler dropped the first game 4-11 against Xia Lian Ni but she came roaring back and dominated the next four games, winning them 11-1, 11-0, 11-0, 11-0 to move into the round of 16.

Sreeja Akula shocks world no. 20 Adriana Dia

Sreeja Akula’s path to the round of 32 was far more complicated as she slugged it out against Adriana Diaz in a thriller. The Indian table tennis player began the match well and won the opening game11-9.

Adriana Diaz, though, showed why she’s ranked 20th in the world, by winning the next two games 11-8, 11-8. Sreeja Akula won the following game 11-6 but lost the subsequent one 6-11 as Adriana Diaz moved to the verge of qualification to the next round.

However, Sreeja Akula had failed to read that script and came from behind to shock the Puerto Rican paddler by winning the last two games of the match 11-9, 11-8 to progress to the round of 32 for a clash against Debora Vivarelli.

Unlike Manika Batra, Sreeja Akula’s ITTF Challenge Plus, Portugal Open 2020 adventure ended in the round of 32, as Vivarelli condemned her to defeat after a long, seven-game battle.

Where to watch the ITTF Challenge Plus, Portugal Open 2020

The ITTF Challenge Plus, Portugal Open 2020 will be streamed live on the official International Table Tennis Federation website.