India’s rising pair of G Sathiyan and Manika Batra outplayed home favourites Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6 to clinch the mixed doubles title at World Table Tennis Tour Contender Budapest 2021 on Friday.
Sathiyan and Manika had stormed into the final with a 11-6,11-5,11-4 win over Aleksandr Khanin and Daria Trigolos of Belarus. The Indian pair stunned the World No. 7 and top seeded duo of Barbora Balazova and Lubomir Pistej from Slovakia 11-4, 3-11 , 6-11 , 11-6 , 11-9 in the quarterfinals and to enter pre-quarters, they got the better of compatriots Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath 3-0.
It was a memorable win for Manika and Sathiyan, who don’t play a lot of mixed doubles together. Sathiyan and Manika began their journey at Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018. Manika also paired with veteran Sharath Kamal at Jakarta Asian Games in the same year. In both occasions, India had won bronze. Manika went to the recently concluded Tokyo2020 Olympic Games with Sharath but returned without a medal.
Manika and Sathiyan have now teamed up again after three years with 2024 Paris Olympic Games and next year’s Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in mind.
In the women’s singles semifinals, Manika, seeded sixth and World No. 60, was ousted by European youth champion of Russia Elizabet Abraamian, 12-10, 11-9, 12-10, 10-8 . The top-ranked Indian beat Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin 12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 4-11, 11-8 to enter the quarterfinals where she defeated compatriot Sreeja Akula 7-11, 11-1, 8-11, 13-11,11-6.
In pre-quarterfinals, Sreeja, ranked 150th in the world, posted 11-9, 11-6, 13-11 win over World No. 53 Barbora. Meanwhile, Archana Kamath, another Indian in the fray, bowed out to Russia’s Mariia Tailakova 11-4, 11-6, 11-6.
In the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals, World No. 39 Sathiyan saw an early exit when he lost to World No. 102 Niagol Stoyanov of Italy 12-10, 11-7, 12-10, 19-17.
In the men’s doubles, Manav and Harmeet Desai reached semifinals after defeating hosts Erik Huzsvar and David Szantosi 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-8. The Russian pair of Vladimir Sidorenko and Kirill Skachkov defeated the Indians 11-0, 6-11, 11-9, 11-6 to reach summit clash.