India’s top 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.
Sharath Kamal was seen struggling in the initial stages of the game as he went down in the first game against Brian Afanador. But 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 a stern 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.