Manika Batra, Harmeet Desai make impressive returns to international circuit in WTT Contender series

The season-opener is also the first international tournament Indian players are participating in after the long coronavirus-forced break.

Press Trust of India March 01, 2021 22:54:55 IST
Manika Batra, Harmeet Desai make impressive returns to international circuit in WTT Contender series

File image of Manika Batra. UTT

Doha: Ace Indian paddlers Manika Batra and Harmeet Desai made an impressive return to the international circuit by registering straight-game victories in their respective qualifying round-2 matches at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender series in Doha on Monday.

Batra, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, registered a 12-10 14-12 11-8 victory over Spain's Sofia-Xuan Zhang in women's singles, while world No 73 Desai notched up an easy 11-5 12-10 11-6 win over compatriot Anthony Amalraj to progress to the third round of the men's singles qualifiers.

The season-opener is also the first international tournament Indian players are participating in after the long coronavirus -forced break.

However, Sutirtha Mukherjee, Mudit Dani and Diya Chitale suffered defeats in their respective singles qualifying round matches.

Two-time national champion Mukherjee failed to get the better of Ukraine's Tetyana Bilenko 5-11 3-11 12-10 9-11 while Dani, who is ranked 200, went down 8-11, 6-11 11-8 6-11 against world No 85 Olah Benedek of Finland.

Chitale started off well against Romania's Irina Ciobanu with a game's lead, but she couldn't capitalise on the momentum and lost the match 11-8 9-11 3-11 8-11 against the world No 98.

Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran have received direct entries into the men's singles main draw, while 10 other Indians are playing in the qualifiers at the event.

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