Ace paddlers Achanta Sharath Kamal, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra started their campaign at the WTT Star Contender Doha on a winning note and progressed into the second round of their respective singles categories on Monday.
The Melbourne Commonwealth Games champion Sharath Kamal was seen struggling in the initial stages of the game as he went down in the first game against Brian Afanador. The World No. 32 recovered well to gain the required momentum and gave no further chance to his opponent before sealing the match 8-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-1 against the Puerto Rican in the men’s singles first round. The Indian paddler will face World No. 16 Patrick Franziska of Germany in the next round on Tuesday.
World No. 37 Sathiyan was also trailing 0-2 in the match. However, he made a remarkable comeback with a counter attacking display and pulled off a sensational come-from-behind 9-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 victory against his French opponent Emmanuael Lebesson in the first round of men’s singles event. Sathiyan will now face a tough task in the next round as he is set to take on World No. 5 Japanese paddler Tomokazu Harimoto.
In the women’s singles opening round match, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Batra notched up a comfortable straight-set 11-5, 11-9, 11-9 victory against Chinese Taipei’s Hsein-Tzu Cheng to progress into the next round where she will face challenge from World No. 3 Mima Ito of Japan.
Sathiyan, Sharath Kamal and Batra have earned direct entries into the singles draw at the ongoing tournament. The second round matches will take place on Tuesday.
Earlier in the first qualifying round of men’s singles, Anthony Amalraj suffered a 6-11, 11-9, 3-11, 7-11 defeat against Mizuki Oikawa of Japan while Harmeet Desai lost to Ukraine’s Yevhen Pryshchepa with 10-12, 9-11, 11-13, 9-11 score line. While in the women’s singles qualifiers, Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ahyika Mukherjee couldn’t progress into the third round. While Sutirtha lost the hard-fought match 11-9, 11-6, 5-11, 9-11, 9-11 to Hayeong Kim of Korea, Ayhika suffered a 5-11, 11-13, 7-11 loss against Irina Ciobanu of Romania.