India’s women’s singles star Manika Batra also went down fighting to World No. 4 Yidi Wang of China 8-11, 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 14-12, 5-11 in the quarter-finals
India’s Sutirtha Mukherjee (right) and Ayhika Mukherjee celebrate their win on Saturday. Pic/AFP
Anyone who watched India’s women’s doubles paddlers Sutirtha Mukherjee, 27, and Ayhika Mukherjee, 26, combining excellently to shock the world champion Chinese pair of Chen Meng and Yidi Wang in the quarter-finals on Saturday would have thought they are sisters. Their brilliant coordination at the table left the World No. 2 Chinese champions in disarray, assuring India of a historic first-ever women’s doubles table tennis medal at the Asiad.
However, senior partner Sutirtha was quick to point out that they are not sisters though their accurate anticipation may have suggested otherwise. “We are not sisters, we just share the same surname. But we have known each other and played together since childhood. So, it’s very easy to understand one another. I can read her mind and she can read mine,” said Sutirtha after the 11-5, 11-5, 5-11, 11-9 victory amidst vociferous support from Chinese fans in their own backyard. When asked if the loud crowd was intimidating, a smiling Sutirtha replied in the negative. “Not really. In fact, we were enjoying it. It’s always great to play against China and also in China because the level is so high here,” she said.
Earlier, the Indian men’s doubles pair of Manush Shah and Manav Thakkar weren’t as fortunate, losing in the quarter-finals 8-11, 11-7, 10-12, 11-6, 9-11 to South Koreans Woojin Jang and Jonghoon Lim.
India’s women’s singles star Manika Batra also went down fighting to World No. 4 Yidi Wang of China 8-11, 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 14-12, 5-11 in the quarter-finals.