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  5. Archana, Amalraj demolish Manika Batra's RP-SG Mavericks

Archana, Amalraj demolish Manika Batra's RP-SG Mavericks

Manika first capitulated 0-3 in the opening women's singles encounter to compatriot Archana Kamath, handing the 19-year-old biggest victory of her blossoming career.

Reported by: PTI New Delhi Published on: July 27, 2019 23:49 IST
Archana, Amalraj demolish Manika Batra's RP-SG Mavericks
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

A file image of Manika Batra

India's star player Manika Batra suffered a twin blow on Day 3 of Ultimate Table Tennis as RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata slumped to a massive 4-11 defeat against Goa Challengers on Saturday.

Manika first capitulated 0-3 in the opening women's singles encounter to compatriot Archana Kamath, handing the 19-year-old biggest victory of her blossoming career.

Manika then lost 1-2 in the mixed doubles, pairing with World No.55 Benedikt Duda, to see her team RP-SG Mavericks Kolkata slide to a huge defeat.

The rechristened Goan team rode on Archana's early coup to demolish a seemingly strong RP-SG in each of the first four clashes, with Spain's Alvaro Robles and Amalraj Anthony/Cheng I-Ching scoring 2-1 wins in the men's singles and mixed doubles.

India's Amalraj followed up his good show with another upset, beating Germany's Benedikt in the second men's singles.

Earlier, Archana started the victory march for the Challengers as she picked up a stunning win over Indian TT's golden girl Manika. 

Archana, India's only women paddler to have qualified for the semifinals of the Youth Olympics, got off to a fiery start racing to a 5-2 lead. 

Manika launched a strong comeback and levelled the scores 7-7 with an exotic forehand smash, but Archana was in no mood to squander her chance and she raced to the game point with a powerful forehand return. 

Manika managed to save one game point but Archana eventually won the game 11-9.

The Challengers' player was on a roll in the second game, cruising to a 7-4 lead.

Manika did try to cut down the lead but Archana was all over her and pocketed the game 11-7 in a rather easy manner. 

Having already lost the match, RP-SG would have wanted their star player to salvage at least a point but Archana looked like a player possessed and sealed the game 11-3 to clinch all three points on offer.

RP-SG's strategy to field Sanil Shetty against Alvaro Robles did not pay off as the Spaniard came from behind to deliver two points for his team. 

The opening game of the match lived up to the expectations with both the players involved in exquisite stroke-making and exciting long rallies. Sanil won the opening game 11-10 and logged in the first point of the evening for the last year's runners-up.

But the World No.56 Spaniard came out a different player in the second game and Sanil had no answers for the towering Challengers' player and went down 4-11. 

The script did not change much in the final game as Alvaro cantered to a comfortable 11-5 victory to seal the match.

With a healthy lead of 5-1 after two matches, Challengers' skipper Amalraj Anthony paired up with the highest-ranked player of the league this season -- Cheng I-Ching -- in the mixed doubles encounter against the team of Manika Batra and debutant Benedikt Duda. 

RP-SG won the opening game 11-8 and it looked like things could turn around for them. But the Goan pair got their act together to win the next two games 11-4 and 11-9 to swell the lead to 7-2 in their team's favour.

With just a point away from sealing the tie, Amalraj made no mistake, and despite starting on the backfoot in his men's singles clash against Duda, he won the opening game 11-7 to all but wrap up the contest. 

Duda won the next game 11-10 but the Indian came back strongly to win the final game 11-4.

World No.8, Cheng then stepped up to the table in the last rubber of the tie against World No. 25 Matilda Ekholm and completed the rout as she picked up a rather comfortable 2-1 victory. 


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