Sutirtha Mukherjee and Ayhika Mukherjee won a bronze medal at the Asian Games after the Indian duo lost the closely-fought women’s doubles semi-final 3-4 to North Korea's Suyong Cha and Sugyong Pak.
India's win holds added significance as it marks the first time we have secured a medal in the women's doubles event at the Asian Games.
In a groundbreaking victory, Sutirtha and Ayhika Mukherjee delivered a stunning upset by defeating the reigning world champion Chinese pair, Chen Meng and Yidi Wang, in the women's doubles quarterfinals at the Asian Games. They got the bronze by virtue of reaching the semi-finals.
Congratulations to Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee on winning the Bronze Medal. This is a special win because it is the first ever medal in the women's doubles event by India at the Asian Games.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 2, 2023
Their dedication, skills and teamwork are exemplary. pic.twitter.com/wVK2WOShRk
Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee become the first ever 🇮🇳 women's doubles team to medal at the Asian Games! 🔥— Shyam Vasudevan (@JesuisShyam) September 30, 2023
They beat the Chinese pair of Meng Chen and Yidi Wang, who are ranked #2 in the world, to move into the semis!
This is a special, special win. They've beaten… pic.twitter.com/WEtntqj6dI
Well done Ayhika Mukherjee and Sutirtha Mukherjee. You have made us proud by winning the bronze medal🥉in the Table Tennis Women's Doubles Event at the #AsianGames2022.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) October 2, 2023
My best wishes for your future endeavors. pic.twitter.com/MQOsgWFMN7
Sutirtha Ayhika Mukherjee Bronze Win
From the outset, the Indian players maintained relentless pressure on their higher-ranked opponents. The Chinese duo, anticipated to dominate the match, faced a surprising turn of events as the Indians swiftly claimed victory in the opening game within just 8 minutes. This trend continued in the second game, where the Indian pair wrapped it up in only 9 minutes, capitalising on numerous unforced errors made by their Chinese counterparts, especially on their forehand.
While the Chinese players mounted a brief comeback by securing the third game, the Indian duo regrouped quickly to regain control in the fourth game. The pivotal moment came when Chen Meng's forehand found the net, securing India's historic win.
Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Manika Batra faced a disappointing exit from the women's singles table tennis competition. She struggled against China's Yidi Wang, ranked No. 4 globally, with a final score of 8-11, 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 14-12, and 5-11. Manika's defeat marked the end of India's singles campaign at the Hangzhou Games. Her performance revealed vulnerabilities in her backhand, and even in games she won, it was often due to unforced errors made by her opponent.
The sixth game saw Wang regain her focus, utilising powerful shots to target Manika's backhand. Although Manika attempted to fight back with solid forehands, Wang's exceptional defensive skills frustrated the Indian player. The match came to a fitting end with a backhand error from Manika.
In men's doubles, the Indian pair of Manush Shah and Manav Thakkar also bowed out in the quarterfinals, facing a defeat against the South Korean duo of Woojin Jang and Jonghoon Lim. The Indians were initially leading 6-2 in the fifth game, but the Koreans made a comeback, resulting in a 9-9 tie. Ultimately, they couldn't capitalise on their chances, leading to their loss against the Koreans.
This series of results marked a mix of triumphs and disappointments for the Indian table tennis contingent at the Asian Games.
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