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Tokyo Olympics | China’s domination set to continue

Sutirtha with coach Soumyadeep Roy.  

The Chinese juggernaut in table tennis is all set to roll on in Tokyo. On the first day of the tournament on Saturday, however, not many Chinese will be in action.

Top seeds Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen will start the proceedings in the mixed doubles pre-quarterfinals, a category introduced in Tokyo.

Men’s and women’s first round and intense action in mixed doubles will be thrilling to witness.

The Indian connection

Three of the four Indians will start their campaigns on Saturday.

The mixed doubles pair of A. Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra, seeded 12th, will start against the third-seeded pair of Lin Yun Ju and Cheng I Ching. The match will be an acid test for India’s 2018 Asian Games bronze medal-winning pair.

Manika and Sutirtha Mukherjee will also be seen in action in women’s singles. While Manika will be up against Ho Tin-Tin of Great Britain, Sutirtha will hope to repeat her recent exploits against Sweden’s Linda BergStrom.

Manika holds a 2-0 advantage in head-to-head matches. Sutirtha, meanwhile, enjoys the advantage of winning the last of the two matches against Bergstrom, at the World Tour event in Hungary last year.

Besides the Chinese pair, Japan’s veteran Jun Mizutani and Ito Mima will be hoping to get off the blocks quickly against Stefan Fegrel and Sofia Polcanova of Australia to enter the mixed doubles quarterfinals.

Nikhil Kumar, who has joined Kanak Jha of Indian origin from the United States of America as the second paddler, will open his campaign against Mongolia’s Lkhagvasuren Enkhbat.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 1:35:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/chinas-domination-set-to-continue/article35500133.ece

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