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Main League Football should draw in ultimate avid gamers to develop: Infantino

JEDDAH: Day three of the Saudi Smash tournament served up shocks and surprises as some of the pre-tournament favourites were eliminated.

In the women’s singles, Manika Batra ended Wang Manyu’s quest for successive Grand Smash titles. 

A ranked outsider ahead of Saudi Smash, India’s Batra overcame the Chinese world number 2 and Singapore Smash 2024 champion in convincing fashion, sealing a last 16 place with a 3-1 victory – the tournament’s biggest upset so far.

Reflecting on her giant-killing win inside the Infinity Arena, Batra said: “I’m delighted with the win against Wang – this is a great moment for me. I’ve lost twice previously against her, but I was well-prepared, gave 100% and played at my highest level.

She continued: “For me, I’m enjoying the Saudi Smash and this is key. Enjoyment is helping me to embrace the atmosphere and win. I’m taking it one match at a time, but today was a great win and I’m happy to be in the next round.”

More drama unfolded shortly after in the Men’s Singles Round of 64 – as Jonathan Groth beat world number 6 Lin Gaoyuan.

The Danish star sealed his best-ever win on the World Table Tennis tour with a 3-1 win against China’s two-time World Team Championship gold medallist.

“I’m really happy to have won,” the world number 27 said after his match.

“Lin Gaoyuan played some of the best table tennis at the ITTF World Cup just a few weeks ago and maybe should have won the title, so I’m thrilled to play him and win when he’s in top shape.

“I’m happy with how I handled the crucial moments out there against a great player. I enjoyed myself today, I prepared well, and now I’m looking forward to the last 16 where another top players awaits.”


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