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Saudi Smash: Manika Batra's Sensational Run Ends In Quarterfinals

The Indian entered the quarterfinals, backing herself to put it past Hayata as she had upset the Japanese to win a historic bronze in the Asia Cup back in 2022. But the result did not go in her favour this time

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Manika Batra had defeated world number 14 Nina Mittelham in the round of 16. Photo: X/ @India_AllSports
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Manika Batra's giant-killing run at the Grand Smash tournament in Jeddah ended in the women's singles quarterfinals on Thursday as she lost to Japan's Hina Hayata 1-4, having become the first Indian woman table tennis player to enter the last eight stage of an elite WTT event. (More Sports News)

The Indian ace was coming off a victory over world number 14 Nina Mittelham.

After stunning world number two Wang Manyu in the second round, Batra extended her red-hot form in Saudi Arabia with an 11-6 11-9 11-7 win over her German rival in just 22 minutes on Wednesday.

However, she could not stretch the run against world No. 5 Hayata, losing 11-7 6-11 4-11 11-13 2-11.

Earlier, Batra recorded a first win over Mittelham in four attempts to set up a meeting with another formidable rival in Hayata.

The Indian entered the quarterfinals, backing herself to put it past Hayata as she had upset the Japanese to win a historic bronze in the Asia Cup back in 2022. But the result did not go in her favour this time.

Earlier, after beating Mittelham, the 28-year-old Batra said, "I'm feeling really proud of myself that I played my best game today after beating Wang Manyu. That match was really important to me and I was happy and excited so I had to keep myself calm for this match.

"Everything is going right here. Everything in my room, in my practice session, in my match; so I think I love this country! This is my first quarterfinals in a Smash so I'm really thankful to everyone that was there to cheer and my practice partner for coaching me and my coach in India."

Batra, who is currently ranked 39, is set to break into the top 25 following a memorable week in Jeddah.

Batra had shocked China's Wang on Monday after getting past Romania's Andreea Dragoman in the first round, her first win at a Grand Smash event.

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