Manika Batra won one singles match and lost the other as the Indian team made a pre-mature exit from the tournament.
Defending champions India, led by star paddler Manika Batra, crashed out of the women’s table tennis team event in the Commonwealth Games after losing to Malaysia 3-2 in the quarterfinals here on Saturday. After recording an easy win in a group stage match earlier in the day, the Indian women’s team lost to Malaysia in the last-eight stage. Batra won one singles match and lost the other as the Indian team made a pre-mature exit from the tournament.
India were on the backfoot after the pair of Reeth Tennison and Sreeja Akula lost the opening doubles match 1-3 (7-11 6-11 11-5 6-11) before Batra levelled the tie with a 3-2 (11-8 11-5 8-11 9-11 11-3) win over Ying Ho in the singles.
Akula then made amends of the doubles loss as she thrashed Li Sian Alice Chang 3-0 (11-6 11-6 11-9). But Batra failed to seal the tie for India as she lost to Karen Lyne 3-0 (6-11 3-11 9-11) in the crucial fourth match as Malaysia made another comeback in the tie.
Malaysia took advantage of the momentum as Ying Ho beat Tennison 3-2 (10-12 11-8 6-11 11-9 11-9 ) in a tight deciding match to break Indian hearts.
Earlier in the day, the Indian women’s team had outclassed Guyana 3-0 in a Group 2 match.
The women’s team, defending the title it had won at Gold Coast four years ago, had enjoyed a winning start to its campaign on Friday after crushing South Africa and Fiji by identical 3-0 margins.
On the second competition day, the first to turn up was the pair of Akula and Tennison and it steamrolled Natalie Cummings and Chealsea Edghill 11-5 11-7 11-7 to put India 1-0 ahead.
Then, reigning Commonwealth Games champion Batra, who became the first Indian paddler to win a gold in the women’s singles in the last edition, decimated Thuraia Thomas in straight games 11-1 11-3 11-3.
In another woman’s singles match, Tennison fought hard to register a 11-7 14-12 13-11 win against Chealsea Edghill, who put up a spirited show. Her win ensured that India won the tie convincingly.
The Indian men’s team continued its impressive show by recording its second straight win with a 3-0 thrashing of Northern Ireland.
Veteran Achanta Sharath Kamal paired up with Harmeet Desai to beat James Skelton and Owen Cathcart 11-3 9-11 11-6 11-1 in men’s doubles to hand India a 1-0 lead.
Sanil Shetty then beat Paul McCrerry 11-5 15-13 11-6 to extend India’s lead.
But Harmeet Desai had to dig deep before prevailing over Catchcart 5-11 11-9 12-14 11-3 11-6 in a hard-fought second singles match.