The Indian paddlers G Sathiyan and Manika Batra have made a successful start to their mixed double partnership. The duo defeated Hungarians Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz 3-1 (11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-6) and won the WTT Contender tournament in Budapest, Hungary on Friday.
Sathiyan and Manika Batra come together after their historic stint at the 2018 Commonwealth Games where they won the bronze medal and have clear plans – to win a medal at the 2024 Paris Olympics. The three-year Olympic cycle will give them the much-needed space and time to iron out problems and become a force to be reckoned with.
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G Sathiyan and Manika Batra were on the money throughout the tournament. Although they fell by the wayside in their respective individual fights, the duo never left on their guard in their mixed doubles games and were crowned champions with style.
G Sathiyan and Manika Batra start strong
The final turned out to be a one-way street. G Sathiyan and Manika Batra started well, but Hungarian duo Nandor Ecseki and Dora Madarasz passed shot after shot in the first game. However, the Indian duo stayed cool and increased the stakes to triumph 11-9 in the first game.
The Hungarian team restored parity in the second game when they won with an identical result. However, this was the only time Ecseki and Madarasz had the upper hand in the game.
Sathiyan and Manika complemented each other perfectly and didn’t give anything away to keep the Hungarian duo at bay. Although the Indians were pushed against the wall and had to cover a distance to win the third game 12:10, they kept a cool head to come back and easily win the fourth game 11-6.
At the WTT Contender in Budapest, duo G Sathiyan and Manika Batra defeated compatriots Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath 3-0 in the first round, before defeating Slovaks Barbora Balazova and Lubomir Pistej 3-2 in the quarter-finals.
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In the semifinals, the Indian duo met Belarusians Aleksandr Khanin and Daria Trigolos, who overtook them 3-0. It was probably one of the easiest wins the two could have achieved at this stage of the tournament. They carried their self-confidence to the finals and became champions.