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WTT Contender Muscat 2022: Archana Kamath, Sreeja Akula advance to main draw

Tokyo Olympian Sutirtha Mukherjee and Commonwealth Games medallist Anthony Amalraj were knocked out in the women’s and men’s singles preliminary rounds, respectively.

Upcoming Indian table tennis players Archana Kamath and Sreeja Akula fought past three rounds in the preliminaries to qualify for the women’s singles main draw of the WTT Contender Muscat 2022 on Tuesday.

They will join world No. 49 Manika Batra, who was the only Indian to get a direct entry in the women’s singles main draw.

While Archana Kamath overcame Ozge Yilmaz of Turkey 3-1 (11-8, 5-11, 12-10, 11-7), Sreeja Akula won against Huijing Yang of China 3-2 (3-11, 11-7, 12-10, 9-11, 12-10) at the Sultan Qaboos Sport Complex in Muscat, Oman.

Apart from qualifying in singles, Sreeja Akula also earned a spot in the women’s doubles after winning both the preliminary rounds with her partner Selena Selvakumar.

Archana Kamath, meanwhile, was already part of the main draw in women’s and mixed doubles at the event.

In the women’s doubles, Archana Kamath will pair with Manika Batra. The duo, which won the WTT title in Lasko last year, will take on the Hungarian pair of Leila Imre and Mercedes Nagyvaradi on Wednesday.

While in the mixed doubles, Archana Kamath will be paired with Manav Thakkar, who lost in the final preliminary round in men’s singles earlier in the day.

Tokyo Olympian Sutirtha Mukherjee and Anthony Amalraj, who were part of the women’s and men’s teams that won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games 2018, lost in their respective singles preliminary rounds.

Sutirtha Mukherjee, however, will compete in the women’s doubles campaign. She will team up with Ayhika Mukherjee in the main draw and will take on Puerto Rican pair of Melanie Diaz and Adriana Diaz in their opener.

Among the Indians who faltered after making it to the last round in the preliminaries were Diya Chitale, and women’s doubles pair of Suhana Saini and Yashaswini Ghorpade.

On Wednesday, Tokyo Olympians G Sathiyan and Manika Batra will kick off their campaigns against Lin Shidong of China and Lin Ye of Singapore in the men’s and women’s singles, respectively.

G Sathyan and Manika Batra will also be teaming up in the mixed doubles. They had become the first Indian players to win a WTT event when they bagged the mixed doubles title at  WTT Contender Budapest in August last year.

Indian squad in the main draw of the WTT Contender Muscat 2022

Men’s Singles: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran

Women’s Singles: Manika Batra, Sreeja Akula, Archana Kamath

Men’s Doubles: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Harmeet Desai, Manush Shah and Manav Thakkar

Women’s Doubles: Manika Batra and Archana Kamath, Sreeja Akula and Selena Selvakumar, Sutirtha Mukerjee and Ayhika Mukherjee

Mixed Doubles: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra, Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath

By Ali Asgar Nalwala

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