Table Tennis: Manika-Sathiyan lift mixed doubles title in Budapest, make winning return after Tokyo debacle

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The
Indian
duo,
who
had
last
played
together
in
the
2018
Commonwealth
Games,
outplayed
Hungary’s
Dora
Madarasz
and
Nandor
Ecseki
3-1
to
claim
the
title
in
the
mixed
doubles
category.

They
beat
the
94th-ranked
Hungarian
pairing
11-9,
9-11,
12-10,
11-6.
It
was
a
memorable
win
for
Manika
and
Sathiyan
and
plan
to
take
their
partnership
to
the
Paris
Olympics
in
2024.

Manika
had
won
the
Asian
Games
bronze
with
veteran
Sharath
Kamal
and,
more
recently,
they
played
together
at
the
Tokyo
Olympics.
Sathiyan
said
it
was
a
tricky
final
but
their
toughest
challenge
came
in
the
quarterfinals
when
they
upset
the
world
number
seven
duo
from
Slovakia

Barbara
Balazova
and
Lubomir
Pistej

in
the
quarterfinals.

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“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
seem
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-ever
female
player
and
we
have
shown
the
potential
that
our
partnership
has.
The
more
we
play
the
better
we
get,”
Sathiyan
told
PTI.

Sathiyan
will
play
in
the
Czech
Open
later
this
week
while
Manika
will
head
back
home.
Another
big
event
coming
up
is
the
Asian
Championships
in
September-October.
Manika,
ranked
60th
in
singles,
had
done
well
to
reach
the
semifinals
here.

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Another
impressive
performance
came
from
150th-ranked
Indian
Sreeja
Akula,
whom
Manika
defeated
in
the
quarterfinals.
It
was
also
a
welcome
result
for
Sathiyan
following
his
opening-round
loss
in
the
singles
competition
of
the
Tokyo
Olympics.

(With
PTI
inputs)

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