Asian Games 2023: Sutirtha and Aihika secure semifinal spot in Table Tennis, Assure India of bronze
Sutirtha Mukherjee and Aihika Mukherjee caused a major upset by defeating world champion Chinese pair Chen Meng and Yidi Wang, securing a place in the women's doubles semifinals at the Asian Games.
Sutirtha Mukherjee and Aihika Mukherjee stunned world champion Chinese pair Chen Meng and Yidi Wang to advance to the women's doubles semifinals, guaranteeing India a historic table tennis medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou. Their impressive 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9 victory over the World No. 2 Chinese duo holds immense significance as India has never before clinched a medal in the women's doubles event at the Asian Games. The Indian duo maintained their dominance throughout the match, surprising their formidable opponents.
The Chinese pair, expected to have the upper hand, faced a reversal of fortune as the Indians secured the first two games within minutes due to numerous unforced errors, especially on their forehand side. Although the home team briefly fought back to take the third game, the Indians quickly regrouped and dominated the fourth game. The pivotal moment came when Meng's forehand shot found the net, sealing the Indians' triumph.
In contrast, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Manika Batra had a disappointing outing in the women's singles quarterfinals, losing to world No. 4 Yidi Wang of China in a challenging match. Manika's 8-11, 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 14-12, 5-11 defeat marked the end of India's singles campaign at the Hangzhou Games. Despite winning the second and fifth games, Manika's success was largely attributed to Wang's errors rather than her own brilliance.
India's men's doubles pair of Manush Shah and Manav Thakkar also faced a quarterfinal exit, narrowly losing to the South Korean pair of Woojin Jang and Jonghoon Lim in a close match that saw the Indians squander several opportunities.
"We fought really well. We took the game to 9-9 in the last set. We were very close to winning but we have to take the learnings and move forward," said Manush Shah after their defeat.