Harmeet Desai and Sreeja Akula were knocked out in the Round of 32.

The Indian table tennis mixed doubles pairs had a mixed day at the ongoing ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships at the Lusail Sports Arena in Qatar.

Manav Vikas Thakkar and Archana Girish Kamath directly entered the Round of 32 stage. They were up against Mongolia’s Ser-Od Gankhuyag and Undram Munkhbat. The young Indian duo has been making rapid strides in the Indian table tennis circuit in recent years and they once again underlined their calibre on Thursday.

Manav and Archana needed just 17 minutes and 44 seconds to seal the contest in their favour. They won the first two games comfortably, before the Mongolian duo came back in the third. Eventually, the Indians composed themselves to win the fourth game and go through to the next round of the ITTF-ATTU Asian Championship. The scoreline read 11-6, 11-3, 5-11, 11-4 in favour of Manav-Archana. They will now face a Kazakh challenge in the Round of 16 against Kirill Gerassimenko and Anastassiya Lavrova.

Disappointment for Harmeet-Sreeja

Another Indian mixed doubles pair in action on Thursday was Harmeet Desai and Sreeja Akula. They had to first negotiate a Round of 64 clash against Ramhimlian Bawm and Sadia Rahman Mou of Bangladesh. It turned out to be a pretty straightforward contest. An 11-5, 11-7, 11-3 victory for the Indians saw them march on to the Round of 32 of the ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships.

However, the Round of 32 match was a much more difficult test. Harmeet and Sreeja took on Wong Chung Ting and Doo Hoi Kem of Hong Kong. After losing the first two games, they staged a mini-comeback, but ultimately fell short. The Indians fell at the last 32 hurdle 7-11, 8-11, 11-5, 7-11 to bow out of the ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships.

Elsewhere, tomorrow could be a landmark day for Indian table tennis, as the men’s team are all set to face South Korea in the semi-finals. The Indian team will be spearheaded by Sharath Kamal and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran. They will be aiming to reach a historic final in the prestigious continental competition, but will be up against a stern Korean challenge. In the absence of Manika Batra, the biggest name in women’s singles for India will be Sutirtha Mukherjee. The 25-year-old will also begin her ITTF-ATTU Asian Championships singles campaign tomorrow against Qatari girl Ali Maha.

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