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Dream run of Manika and Mouma ends

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New Delhi, June 2: The dream run of Manika Batra and Mouma Das in the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships at Dusseldorf came to an end as the Chinese duo of Ding Ning and Liu Shiwen outsmarted the Indian doubles team in the quarterfinals today.

 

The No. 1 and 2 Chinese players, who are seeded fourth with direct entry in the main draw, won 4-0 (11-7, 11-7, 11-1, 11-3) to enter the semifinals and on way they imparted some vital lessons to the Indians who had to go through the group qualification process.

 

This was by far the best outing for an Indian pair in any world championships and, understandably, both Manika and Mouma, who set a milestone with her 16th appearance in Germany, were both sad and happy.

 

“We did our best and are elated to have entered the quarterfinals. We got a bit lucky yesterday but combined really well to reach this important stage,” said Mouma, who is the first Asian to register most number of appearances in worlds.  

 

On Wednesday, the Indian pair got a walkover from the Netherlands and Polish pair of Li Jie and Li Quian in the pre-quarterfinals after the latter fell sick.

 

“We couldn’t progress any further but were happy to take on the top Chinese players. It’s no shame losing to the best in business,” added Manika. 

 

To begin with, the going was not good for the Indian players today. But for the Chinese pair it was business as usual and the duo systematically demolished whatever little resistance that came about from Manika and Mouma. The Indian paddlers were, more than anything else, troubled by the left-right combination with Ding Ning particularly exploiting the angles well.

 

Manika about to serve in the doubles quarterfinals against the Chinese pair at Dusseldorf on Thursday. The Indian pair exited from the worlds.

 

Caught napping, the Indians fell back, struggling to cope with the pace and precise execution of the Chinese. The combination of scorching forehands from Liu and the excellent backhands from Ding proved too hot for the Indians to handle as they just managed a solitary point after being down 0-8 in the third game. However hard the error-prone Indians tried to come back, it was too late and too little in the day.

 

At 33, Mouma may have played her last worlds (individuals), but it was a big achievement for the diminutive lass from Kolkata to have sustained for so long, since her first world championships appearance in Manchester way back in 1997. Out of 16 appearances so far, she has participated in individual competitions on eight occasions.

 

Late tonight, A. Sharath Kamal is slated to play Chinese Lin Gaoyuan, who is ranked 40 in the world and seeded 33, in the round of 32. Sharath, the lone Indian left in fray and ranked 54, is seeded 43 at Dusseldorf. 

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