HomeSportsTennisAttack-minded Manika Batra first Indian woman to win Asian Cup TT medal

Attack-minded Manika Batra first Indian woman to win Asian Cup TT medal

Manika Batra had a fairly uncluttered method going into her first match in opposition to China’s world No 7 Chen Xingtong on the Asian Cup in Bangkok.

“Chinese players ko aap (ball) daal ke toh nahi jeet sakte ho (you can’t win against a Chinese player by just getting the ball back in play),” Manika mentioned. “So, I had to attack.”

Attack she did. Armed with that clear mindset and a crisp forehand, Manika swept previous Chen, Chinese Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu and, on Saturday, Japanese world No 6 Hina Hayata 4-2 for a exceptional bronze from the distinguished particular person occasion contested between Asia’s high 16.

The Forty fourth-ranked Manika additionally put up a spirited battle in opposition to Japanese world No 5 and Tokyo Games bronze medallist Mima Ito in a 2-4 (8-11, 11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11) semi-final defeat earlier on Saturday. She rapidly regrouped to dismantle Hayata 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 12-10, 4-11, 11-2, turning into the primary Indian girl to medal on the occasion.

“This is a really important medal. My most memorable tournament, I would say,” Manika mentioned from the Thai capital. “Playing against these top players is a challenge in itself, and defeating them is special. It was my best performance.”

The type that hadn’t been on show for some time now. More obviously so on the key occasions this 12 months—Commonwealth Games (CWG) and World Team Table Tennis Championships. The 2022 CWG particularly, the place she went from 4 medals in 2018 to none, upset her. Yet, as an alternative of sulking for too lengthy she swung again into coaching.

More than something on the desk although, it was one thing inside her the place Manika felt the most important change from a couple of months in the past.

“Especially after the CWG, I learnt a lot of things, on and off the table. I worked a lot on things, especially my mind. I’m being a lot calm now. In this tournament, I was enjoying my game again, enjoying every point that I was playing. That was most important,” Manika mentioned.

A free thoughts additionally helped release her recreation. Those deadly flat forehands confirmed up once more on the Asian Cup, flattening the would possibly of two top-10 gamers and the Twenty third-ranked Chen in opposition to whom Manika had collected simply 19 factors within the crew worlds final month.

It wasn’t, nonetheless, an in a single day transformation, or just a case of activating the assault mode. Manika tried to repair the items by the season, just for them to maintain falling aside.

“I was attacking a lot more in this tournament. I’ve been working on that and many other aspects for some time now. Woh bahut saare tournaments mein aa nahi raha tha pehle (it wasn’t happening in the tournaments before). Here, everything came together.

“The two standouts have been my fighting spirit and the attacking game I played here. That confidence in me is coming back again. I’m really happy about that. Of course, it’s still work in progress, but I’m happy it is in the right direction,” she mentioned.

Her grit and style shone the preventing shows on Saturday. In the second recreation of the semi-final in opposition to Ito, Manika erased a 5-2 deficit, stitched seven factors on the bounce and sealed the sport with a backhand winner, twiddling the racquet in her trademark model. Up 2-1 within the match in opposition to southpaw Hayata, Manika saved 4 recreation factors to grab the slipping fourth recreation and swell her lead.

“What I really liked about me here was that I was really calm on every point, fighting for each and every ball—whether it’s at 3-2, 3-3 or 9-9. That pleased me a lot; it’s something I’ve leant from this tournament and want to continue going forward,” she mentioned.

Looking again, although, did she truly consider she may script this unlikely story within the presence of those Asian stalwarts?

“I had the belief. But there was no real thought in my mind that I will beat these players and go on to win a bronze medal. My only thinking was that I have to play my best game and execute what I’ve worked on here. I did that, and I won the bronze!” Manika mentioned, smiling.

This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.

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