Singapore Smash 2022: Sathiyan moves up, Sharath and Manika fall

Gnanasekaran SathiyanNew Delhi: G. Sathiyan began his men’s singles campaign in the $2 million Singapore Smash 2022 on a winning note when he beat Peng Yew En Koen of Chinese Taipei 11-6, 8-11, 11-9, 11-8 in the first round on Saturday.

The 33rd-ranked Sathiyan, who dropped the second game, didn’t have to worry too much against the player ranked No. 140. Yet, the Taipei paddler ran him too close for comfort in the third before Sathiyan prevailed to go 2-1 up. Soon after, Sathiyan completed the job without a fuss.

He will be up next against the winner of the R-64 match between Chinese Lin Gaoyuan (No. 8) and South Korean Lim Jonghoon (No. 59).

A. Sharath Kamal faltered to deceive, going down to Sweden’s Anton Kallberg 1-3 (11-6, 7-11, 6-11, 8-11) in less than 40 minutes. After going 1-0 up, one expected the Indian veteran to put up a semblance of a fight against the Swede, ranked No. 31 in the world. But the world No. 34 did show some fight in the fourth game after he was down 3-6. From there, he picked three points on the trot, including his service points, to level the score. But then, the Swede played a percentage game and converted crucial points to 9-7 and then stopped Sharath three points adrift.

Manika Batra failed to capitalise on a hard-fought win in the first game against Mo Zhang to make her exit in the first round. Manika, who is ranked 46, lost the initiative when the Canadian player of Chinese origin, ranked four places ahead of the Indian, won the next two games on extended points to lead 2-1. In the fourth, both were neck and neck at 5-5, but the Canadian led 8-7 before wrapping it up 12-14, 12-10, 13-11, 11-8.

Another Indian in the fray, qualifier Ayhika Mukherjee (No. 126) will play her first-round match against Chen Szu-Yu of Taipei (No. 29) later tonight.


Meanwhile, Suhana Saini and Yashaswini Ghorpade of India bagged their first gold when they defeated Elena Zaharia and Luciana Mitrofan of Romania in straight games of 11-9, 11-7, 11-6 in the WTT Youth Star Contender Doha 2022 on Friday night.

No other Indian, individually or as a pair, has ever achieved the feat in Star Contender championships before.

Suhana and Yashaswini, coming as they do from Haryana and Karnataka, did well to combine against the top-seeded Romanian pair and take the first game that went very close. After sizing up their opponents in the first game, the Indian duo did a fantastic job to wrap up the match in style.

The second-seeded pair accounted for the Taipei and French combination of Huang Yu-Jin and Charlotte Lutz 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-7 in the quarterfinals and followed it up with a win over the Italian duo of Sophie Earley and Nicole Arlia 11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 11-5 in the semifinals. The Indians received a first-round bye, as did the Romanians.

However, the second pair of Nithyashree Mani and Taneesha Kotecha failed to go past the second round, losing in the quarterfinals to the top-seeds 12-10, 11-13, 11-9, 8-11, 5-11.