Batra off to winning start as Indian paddlers make international comeback with WTT Contender Doha. ( Credit : WTT). Image Source: IANS News

Doha, March 2 : Young India paddler Sreeja Akula outshone her higher ranked opponent to progress into the last round of the women's singles qualifiers at the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender on Tuesday.

Manika Batra too inched closer to qualifying on Tuesday. She and Sreeja are now just a win away from making their way into the main draw.

World No.150 from Hyderabad, Sreeja prevailed over world No.74 Vega Paulina of Chile in the previous round and sent Thailand's 87th-ranked Orawan Paranang packing 11-5, 11-5, 11-6 in the third round. She will now take on Russia's Mariia Tailakova in the final round.

Tailakova entered the last round with a 14-12, 11-8, 11-8 win over India's Archana Kamath.

Living up to her reputation, Commonwealth Games gold medallist and star Indian paddler Manika got the better of Romania's Irina Ciobanu 11-7, 15-13, 11-8 comfortably in the third round of women's singles qualifiers, and will face Ganna Gaponova of Ukraine in the last round.

Earlier, in the final round matches of mixed doubles qualifiers, Indian pair Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sutirtha Mukherjee grabbed a spot in the main draw after a straight-sets 11-5, 11-7, 11-5 victory against Puerto Rico's Daniel Gonzalez and Melanie Diaz.

However, India's other pair Achanta Sharath Kamal and Manika failed to take advantage of an early game lead and lost out to Russia's Alexander Shibaev and Polina Mikhailova 11-9, 11-13, 11-13, 3-11.

Harmeet Desai also suffered a 11-9, 11-7, 9-11, 8-11, 2-11 defeat against Russia's Alexander Shibaev in the third-round match of the men's singles qualifiers. Despite dominating the first two games, Desai couldn't hold his nerves and conceded an unexpected loss.

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