India’s challenge at the World Table Tennis championships ended after the women paddlers were beaten 1-3 in the quarterfinals by Brazil in Tokyo on Saturday.
After a brilliant performance in group events of Stage 1 in second division, the Indian girls were expected to give some fight in the knockout stage.
But, except for Manika Batra, who is in the best form of her life, none of the other girls could withstand the pressure built by the Brazilians.
The beginning for India was the kind which neither the girls nor their coach Bhawani Mukehrjee would have wanted.
K Shamini, who played well, was unable to come to terms against Gui Lin who made use of most of her rival’s mistakes at crucial junctions.
Shamini, despite taking two games of her opponent of Chinese origin, lost 8-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 7-11.
But Manika, brushing aside the pressure, restored parity beating Ligia Silva 13-11, 7-11, 11-4, 12-10.
Playing an attacking game Manika kept pushing Silva to the brink. However, Ankita lost her singles to Caroline Kumahara 4-11, 8-11, 11-7, 6-11 without much fight.
Once again, the pressure was back on Manika, who had to play her reverse singles against Brazil’s No. 1 player Gui Lin, and could not sustain the pace generated by Lin and succumbed 12-14, 7-11, 12-10, 5-11.
The coach appreciated Manika’s excellent form in the championships but rued the failure to make further progress in the championships.
“I would have wanted them to make it to the semifinals at least. Though that was not to be, we are in a happy frame of mind. Now we will look ahead to the CWG at Glasgow before working on the Asian Games at Incheon,” said Mukherjee.
Keywords: World Table Tennis championships