There were moments in Manika Batra’s round-of-16 loss at the ITTF Portugal Open on Saturday when the Indian was on verge of turning the tide in her favour. She showed fine composure against Netherlands’ Britt Eerland but was undone by her opponent’s serves. The Dutch player recorded a comfortable 11-5, 11-9, 11-4, 12-10 win to move into the quarterfinals of the Lisbon event.
For India, Manika Batra’s loss means their campaign at the ITTF Challenge Plus event is over, as the rest of the contingent bowed out on Friday.
Manika Batra caught wanting
Having kept her hopes of going deep into the competition alive after a fine win on Friday, Batra failed to produce a similar spark as Eerland mixed her serves well to keep the Indian guessing.
The scoreboard pressure also took a toll on her as Batra, in her attempt to force her way back, committed a handful of unforced errors as Eerland took the opening game 11-5.
Eerland raced to a 9-4 lead in the second game, only for Manika Batra to close the gap to 10-9. But with Eerland on serve, the Dutch brought out a fine pendulum serve that kissed the table’s edge, barely giving the Indian any room to manoeuvre, to wrap the game.
Manika Batra struggles
Buoyed by the two-game lead, Eerland was keen to assert her supremacy and soon wrapped up a third game 11-4 result to leave Batra with a mountain to climb to keep her campaign alive at the Portugal Open.
In the fourth, though, Manika Batra found enough energy to drag the game long, another wonderful service -- a quicker one off her backhand -- from Eerland barely gave the Indian enough time to react, going on to seal her place in the quarterfinals.