by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Manager
Guided my national coach, Massimiliano Costantini, she beat Canada’s Zhang Mo in a gruelling seven games contest (8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 8-11, 11-2, 13-15, 11-7).
It was not the most exhilarating contest ever witnessed, it was one than needed patience and resolve; Zhang Mo uses short pimpled rubber on the forehand, for Manika Batra it is long pimples on the backhand.
“Mouma Das, my teammate uses exactly the same combination on her racket as Zhang Mo, so I am used to playing against that style of play. The difference between the two players is that Mouma plays much faster from the forehand than Zhang Mo, against me today Zhang Mo played slowly and that caused me problems. I tried to change the length of my blocking from the backhand but she adapted, Max told me at the end of the fourth game when she fought back that I must be patient.” Manika Batra
A hard fought success to gain first place in the group, it was the same for Korea’s Choi Hyojoo, the Czech Republic’s Hana Matelova and Hong Kong’s Ng Wing Nam. Notably, like Manika Batra, all beat the highest rated player in their respective groups to achieve success.
Choi Hyojoo overcame Japan’s Yui Hamamoto in what was very much the recovery of the day, she fought back from a three games to nil deficit to emerge victorious (12-14, 8-11, 6-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-7, 11-4). Similarly, Ng Wing Nam accounted for Chinese Taipei’s Cheng Hsien-Tzu (11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 8-11, 7-11, 13-11, 11-5).
Fine performances but pride of place goes to Hana Matelova, she ended the hopes of Austria’s Liu Jia in a tension packed encounter (13-11, 9-11. 8-11. 11-3, 11-8, 10-12, 13-11); notably Liu Jia was the Women’s Singles runner up in Doha in 2014.