Manika slays world no.14 to make her maiden quarterfinal at WTT Grand Smash event

Jeddah, May 9 (PTI) Manika Batra has become the first Indian woman table tennis player to enter the quarterfinals of an elite WTT event following her victory over world number 14 Nina Mittelham at the Grand Smash event here.

After stunning world number two Wang Manyu in the second round, Batra extended her red hot form in Saudi Arabia with a 11-6 11-9 11-7 win over her German rival in just 22 minutes on Wednesday.

It was Batra’s first win over Mittelham in four attempts and now she will face another formidable rival in world number five Hina Hayata of Japan on Thursday evening.

The Indian will be backing herself to put it past Hayata as she had upset the Japanese to win a historic bronze in the Asia Cup back in 2022.

“I’m feeling really proud with myself that I played my best game today after beating Wang Manyu. That match was really important to me and I was happy and excited so I had to keep myself calm for this match,” said the 28-year-old Batra.

“Everything is going right here. Everything in my room, in my practice session, in my match; so I think I love this country! This is my first quarterfinals in a Smash so I’m really thankful to everyone that was there to cheer and my practice partner for coaching me and my coach in India,” she added.

Batra, who is currently ranked 39, is set to break into the top-25 following a memorable week here.

Batra had shocked China’s Wang on Monday after getting past Romania’s Andreea Dragoman in the first round, her first win at a Grand Smash event.

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