Manika Batra and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beat 94th ranked Hungarian pair Dora Madarasz and Nandor Ecseki to grab the title in finals.
Manika Batra and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran performed excellently in the mixed doubles final at the WTT Contender Budapest 2021 to record the title in their name.
To grab the title, Batra and Sathiyan outshined 94th ranked Hungary’s Dora Madarasz and Nandor Ecseki 3-1.
They secured an 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6 game against the Hungarian pair.
It turned out to be an impressive win for the duo, who don’t play many mixed doubles together.
The mixed doubles final was a close one, with the Indians taking over Hungary in the game.
Almost all the games were a close win for India except for the last one, where the pair took over the title quickly.
They began the game in the first round with an 11-9 score, but they lost the second round with a 9-11 on the board.
They fought the battle to take the third game in their hand and finish the tournament in the fourth.
Journey of the duo:
Sathiyan and Manika started their journey at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, 2018. In the same year, Manika also played with veteran Sharath Kamal at Jakarta Asian Games.
India secured a bronze in both games. Manika left India with Sharath for Tokyo Olympics 2020 edition but returned without a medal.
Sathiyan said; it was a tricky final. Still, their most formidable challenge came in the quarterfinals when they upset the World no. 7 pair from Slovakia — Barbara Balazova and Lubomir Pistej — in the quarterfinals.
After a long break of three years, the duo joined hands again with the 2024 Paris Olympics and Commonwealth and Asian Games, next year, in mind.
Manika, seeded sixth and World no. Sixty were ousted by the European youth champion of Russia, Elizabeth Abrahamian, in the women’s singles semi-finals.
To enter the quarterfinals, The top-ranked Indian beat Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin and defeated compatriot Sreeja Akula.
In the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals, World no. 39 Sathiyan made an early exit after getting defeated by World no. 102 Niagol Stoyanov of Italy.
Sathiyan told PTI,’It is great that we were able to win the event with very little practice. It certainly shows what we can achieve as a pair.
We were quite tactically and seemed to complement each other’s game.’ Manika had me approached for the partnership a while. We both thought it was the best time to give it a shot. She is our best female player, and we have shown the potential that our partnership has. The more we play, the better we get.
Later this week, Sathiyan will play at the Czech open for India. At the same time, Manika will head back to the country and prepare for another big event, Asian Championship, in September-October.