NAGPUR: Young Indian paddler Sreeja Akula surprised her higher ranked opponent to progress into the final round of the women’s singles qualifiers with Commonwealth Games gold medalist Manika Batra at the WTT Contender Doha on Tuesday.
Manika and Sreeja are now just a win away from making it to the main draw of the event.
Hyderabad’s Sreeja, ranked 150 in the world, scored an upset win over World No 74 Vega Paulina from Chile in the earlier round and also sent Thailand’s 87th-ranked Orawan Paranang packing 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 in the third round.
She will now face the challenge of Russia’s Mariia Tailakova in the final round. Tailakova entered the last round with a 14-12, 11-8, 11-8 win over India’s Archana Kamath.
Living up to her reputation, star Indian paddler Manika Batra got the better of Romania’s Irina Ciobanu 11-7, 15-13, 11-8 comfortably in the third round of women’s singles qualifiers. She will now take on Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova in the last round.
Earlier in the final round matches of mixed doubles qualifiers, Indian duo of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sutirtha Mukherjee grabbed a spot in the main draw posting a straight-set 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 victory against Puerto Rico’s Daniel Gonzalez and Melanie Diaz.
However, the country’s other pair of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra failed to take advantage of an early lead and lost out to Russia’s Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova by a 11-9, 11-13, 11-13, 3-11.
However, Harmeet Desai also suffered a 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 2-11 defeat against Russia’s Alexander Shibaev in the third-round of the men’s singles qualifiers. Despite dominating the first two games, Desai couldn’t hold his nerves and conceded an unexpected loss.