Indian paddlers G Sathiyan and Manika Batra have made a winning start to their mixed doubles partnership. The duo beat Hungary’s Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz 3-1 (11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6) to win the WTT Contender Tournament in Budapest, Hungary on Friday.
Coming together after their historic 2018 Commonwealth Games stint, where they won the bronze medal, Sathiyan and Manika Batra are clear with their plans – to win a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics. The three-year Olympic cycle will give them much-needed space and time to iron out problems and become a force to reckon with.
Read: G Sathiyan, Manika Batra out to forge a winning partnership in mixed doubles
G Sathiyan and Manika Batra were on the money throughout the tournament. Although they fell off the wayside in their respective singles campaigns, the duo never dropped their guard in their mixed doubles matches and went all the way to being crowned champions in style.
G Sathiyan and Manika Batra start strong
The final proved to be one-way traffic. G Sathiyan and Manika Batra started off well but the Hungarian duo of Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz matched them shot for shot in the first game. The Indian duo, however, kept their cool and upped the ante to triumph 11-9 in the first game.
The Hungarian team restored parity in the second game when they won by an identical score-line. However, that was the only time Ecseki and Madarasz had the upper hand in the game.
Sathiyan and Manika complemented each other perfectly and gave nothing away, making sure to keep the Hungarian duo at bay. Although the Indians were pushed to the wall and had to go a distance to win the third game at 12-10, they kept their cool to come back and win the fourth game with ease at 11-6.
At the WTT Contender in Budapest, the duo of G Sathiyan and Manika Batra beat compatriots Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath 3-0 in the first round before getting the better of Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and Lubomir Pistej 3-2 in the quarter-finals.
Also read: More than rankings, bringing down big names in top 10 gives me more confidence, says Sathiyan
In the semi-finals, the Indian duo were up against Belarus’ Aleksandr Khanin and Daria Trigolos, whom they breezed past them 3-0. It was probably one of the easiest wins the two could have had at that stage of the tournament. They carried their confidence well into the final and emerged champions.
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