by Simon Daish
Batra Heads Indian Qualification
India’s Manika Batra has competed at some of the world’s biggest Table Tennis tournaments including an appearance at the 2016 Olympic Games, and so her entrance as a preliminary round player at the Czech Open was expected to be trouble free. That was indeed to be the case as Batra strolled to the top of her group.
After registering day one victories against Melanie Diaz (Puerto Rico) and Katerina Tomanovska (Czech Republic), Batra was the firm favourite to seal first position in group 2 and an encounter with Slovakian player Lucia Truksova was all that was standing in her way.
Unfortunately for Truksova her opponent was playing on another level, and not at one moment in the match did Batra look close to faltering. The Indian player sealed her place in the Round of 64 with a straight games win over Truksova (11-5, 11-1, 11-4, 11-5) and will face Luxembourg’s Sarah De Nutte in the main event.
Mouma Das was another Indian player to top a group, beating the Czech Republic’s Barbora Kapounova in her final match, while Reeth Tennison (India) finished group 3 in the runners-up spot.
Despite the successful qualification from the three Indian players above, there was also disappointment for the country as Ayhika Mukherjee and Pooja Sahasrabudhe were both knocked out of the event.
64 Remaining, Four Czechs
Two more players from the Czech Republic will participate in the main draw, after Katerina Tomanovsk and Dana Cechova booked their places alongside fellow countrywomen Renata Strbikova and Hana Matelova.
Cechova had already sealed her last 64 spot on the opening day, having seen off Emina Hadziahmetovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Rahel Aschwanden (Switzerland), but Tomanovsk would have to settle for second place in her group behind Manika Batra.
The Czech competitors look set for an interesting task in the next round: Strbikova, Tomanovsk and Matelova will all face Asian opponents. Cechova is to take on Petra Lovas (Hungary) who is ranked over 320 places higher than herself in August’s ITTF World Rankings table.
Full Distance Required
Group 5 featured two matches that went right down to the final game to be decided, producing great comebacks in the process.
Kim Olga of Uzbekistan is through, courtesy of a win against Hungary’s Mercedes Nagyvaradi (7-11, 5-11, 11-6, 7-11, 18-16, 11-6, 11-7), and Brazilian Gui Lin also recovered from 1-3 down as she won the group with her victory over Czech player Kristyna Mikulcova (11-5, 8-11, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 11-2, 11-6).
Gui will play Dora Madarasz (Hungary), while Olga is up against Natalia Partyka (Poland) on the third day of action.
Thursday 1st September: Women’s Singles – Qualification Stage