Indian table tennis star Manika Batra saw her run at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics end on Monday after a 4-0 defeat to Austria’s Sofia Polcanova in the third round of the women’s table tennis singles event. The Austrian beat Batra 11-8, 11-2, 11-5, 11-7.
The 26-year-old Indian paddler began proceedings with some comfortable backhand shots, but it was world No. 16 Polcanova, who rallied back to claim the first game 11-8.
As the match progressed, the Austrian became more aggressive in her approach and won the third round in straight games.
Earlier, Sutirtha Mukherjee fell to a straight-game defeat against Portugal’s Fu Yu in the second round.
Sutirtha’s cautious play and continuous errors paved the way for 42-year-old Fu Yu to register a commanding 11-3, 11-3, 11-5, 11-5 victory over the Indian.
Both Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee failed to replicate their heroic victories from the previous round. Their exits mark the end of the Indian challenge in women's singles at Tokyo 2020.
India’s only hope in table tennis at Tokyo 2020 now lies with Achanta Sharath Kamal, who defeated Portugal's Tiago Apolonia 4-2 in the men's singles event.
The 39-year-old had a rocky start to his match as he lost the first game 2-11. However, Kamal regained his composure and wrapped up the match with scores of 2-11, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9 to progress to the next round.
Sharath Kamal, who had earlier bowed out of the mixed doubles event with partner Manika Batra after a 4-0 defeat to Chinese Taipei, will face China’s defending Olympic champion Ma Long in the third round of the men’s singles event on Tuesday, July 27.
Featured photo: Twitter / We Are Team India