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Manika Batra becomes first Indian woman to clinch bronze at Asian Cup

Sports Lounge Staff



Manika Batra

Bangkok: Manika Batra became the first Indian paddler to win a medal in the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup after shocking world number six Hina Hayata of Japan in the bronze play-off here on Saturday.

Batra, the world No 44, came up with a 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 4-11, 11-2 win to earn a podium finish.

The 27-year-old started her campaign with an upset 4-3 win over China’s world No 7 Xingtong Chen in the Round of 16, and then went onto beat world No 23 Szu-yu Chen 4-3 as well to get to the semifinal.

She faced world No 5 Mima Ito of Japan in the semifinal, but was beaten 4-2.

Batra started off the bronze medal match well, putting Hayata on the back foot with her big forehands.

Trailing 2-1, Hayata took a strong 10-6 lead in the fourth game and looked certain to level the match only for Batra to claw her way back and win the next six points in a row to go up 3-1.

Hayata did manage to reduce the deficit in the fifth game, winning it 11-4. But Batra showed her intent in the sixth game, playing aggressively towards Hayata’s backhand before eventually sealing a historic win.

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