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India swelled in pride as Table Tennis Star Manika Batra secured her position against world number 32 Margaryta Pesotska to reach the women's singles third round at Tokyo Olympics 2020. This Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee is a top-ranked female player in India and ranks 62nd in the world.
She made a remarkable comeback after losing the first two games to prevail 4-11, 4-11, 11-7, 12-10, 8-11, 11-5, 11-7 in a second round match that lasted 57 minutes. She meets Austria's Sofia Polcanova on Monday for a place in the round of 16. If Manika manages another upset, it will be a significant achievement for the Indian in her second Olympics.
Down and out after the first two games and trailing even in the third, Manika somehow clawed her way back into the match.She used the pimple rubber to good effect thereafter and combined it with a more offensive approach. The match saw long rallies, slow as well as fast ones, as Manika twiddled with her bat amazingly to find forehand and backhand winners, reports PTI.
The sixth game which she won after trailing 2-5 turned the tide in her favour decisively. The timeout worked as she reeled off nine points in a row to give herself five game points before levelling the match at 3-3.With momentum in her side, Manika controlled the deciding game and sealed the match with a forehand cross court winner.Earlier, world number 38 Sathiyan had a commanding 3-1 lead but lost four games in a row to lose 3-4 to lower-ranked Lam from Hong Kong.
"It is heartbreaking but I will come back stronger. I was playing really well initially. I was aggressive and serving well but after the fourth game he started to slow down the pace and started receiving better," Sathiyan told PTI.
"The rallies got longer and I started to feel the pressure. I was a little bit passive from the fifth game onwards. I should have continued being aggressive despite his variation in pace. I just made the error of playing it safe."Credit to him also. He did not make much mistakes in the last two games," Sathiyan added, as mentioned in a PTI report.