Ahmedabad: Home hopes were dashed on Day Two of the 30th Table Tennis Asian Cup after Manika Batra, the lone local star in the women’s competition, went down to Japan’s world no. 6 Miu Hirano 7-11, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11 in a quarter-final playoff at the TransStadia here on Saturday.
Achanta Sharath Kamal and Harmeet Desai had already been eliminated in the men’s singles on Day One and with Manika’s exit, the home challenge came to an end in the tournament.
Manika, who had an unbeaten run in the round robin group stage, failed to bring her A game against world no. 6. Hirano. The Japanese dominated proceeding from the start and went on to pocket the game. In the next, Manika raised the bar to equalise scores but Hirano played attacking to clinch the next two games and the match.
Meanwhile, three top 10 women’s players cemented their spot in the last four. After beating Manika, Hirano went on to book a semi-final berth, edging past Taipei’s Chen Szu-Yu 4-3 (11-13, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9, 9-11, 11-6, 11-3) in a close encounter.
Next up was world no. 3 aZhu Yuling of China, who accounted for world no. 8 Cheng I-Ching of Taipei in straight games (11-5,11-3,11-2,11-3).
Another Japanese to enter the semi-final was Kasumi Ishikawa, the world no.7 demolishing Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem 4-0 (11-9,12-10,14-12,14-12) who went on to face China’s no. 4 Liu Shiwen.
Lin pipped Korea’s Suh Hyowon 4-3 (4-11,11-8,9-11,11-9,1-11,11-8,3-11).
Later in the day, Liu and Zhu ensured that the women singles crown will remain with China when they won their respective semis. Liu overcame Ishikawa 15-13, 11-3, 9-11, 13-11, 9-11, 11-6 while Zhu packed off Hirano 13-11, 11-8, 11-2, 12-10. It will be an all Chinese affair in the men’s singles final as well with Fan Zhendong and Lin Gaoyuan reaching the title clash. Fan felled South Korea’s Lee Sangsu 11-5, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7. Lin beat Taipei’s Chen Chien-An 11-5, 12-10, 15-13, 11-7.