Hangzhou [China], September 24 (ANI): The Indian women’s table tennis team was knocked out of the ongoing 19th Asian Games after suffering a defeat against 2-3 Thailand in their Round of 16 clash on Sunday.
A bitter pill for the Indians to swallow, particularly after how they kept their momentum alive until the fourth match. Veteran paddler Manika Batra was not up to her game. However, Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee tried to push India closer to the winning lines.
Thailand’s Orawan Pananang turned out to be a thorn in the flesh of the Indians as she overpowered Manika in the first match.
World No. 36 Manika also suffered an 11-7, 11-1, 13-11 defeat in the first match of the tie. Manika lost to Orawan Paranang in three straight sets the late resistance didn’t work for the senior Indian paddler.
In the second game of the tie, Ayhika Mukherjee managed to bridge the gap with a combination of smashes and gentle touch beating Suthasini Sawettabut 18-16, 11-7, 13-15, 11-9 in a match that lasted for 53 minutes.
Ayhika took the game down to the wire after trailing for a while in the middle. Although she had the opportunity to seal the game point on three occasions, Suthasini ensured she didn’t let the pressure mount over her. However, Ayhika was the one to force errors on her opponent in crunch moments to pick two straight points and clinch the game 18-16.
Ayhika continued the momentum with her defensive game completely spot on and successive errors from Suthasini at the net allowed Ayhika to march towards straight-set wins.
In the third match of the tie, Sutirtha Mukherjee defeated 3-2 Khtekhaun Tamolwan with a score line of 11-1, 9-11, 3-11,11-7, 11-7.
In the fourth match, Ayhika Mukherjee produced a fine performance to beat Orawan Paranang 12-10, 4-11, 11-5, 4-11, 3-11 and make things even 2-2 with Thailand.
In the decider of the tie, Manika and Suthasini Sawettabut were engaged in a fiercely competed game with both paddlers aiming to outwit each other in a bid to take a lead in the decider.
Another game was pushed down the wire in the first game nail-biting contest and Manika bagged her first win of the day. Suthasini bounced back in the second game with some top-notch shots and the Indian failed to respond to them.
In the third game, the Indian conceded four straight points to go down 1-2 in the decider.
Suthasini fired two catching shots to rattle Manika’s forehand game. Thailand again led the charge and Manika was under immense pressure to pull back the lead. Manika forced Suthasini into drills in what could be defined as the best rally of this game. However, Suthasini came out with her fierce shots after winning the decider 3-1 to end the India women’s run at the team competition. (ANI)
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