ITTF World Cup 2024: Sreeja Akula and Manika Batra emerged victorious in group-stage matches

The ITTF World Cup champion will take home a USD $1,000,000 prize pool.

Sreeja Akula in ITTF (Image Credit-X)
By Pushkar Pandey | Apr 16, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Sreeja Akula and Manika Batra, two of India’s leading table tennis players, initiated their pursuits at the ITTF World Cup in Macao, China, with divergent initial successes in their respective opening matches on Tuesday. Ranked 39th globally, Akula swiftly dispatched Poland’s Natalia Bajor, who is positioned 13 places lower in the rankings, with a resounding 4-0 victory (11-9, 11-6, 11-5, 11-5) within a brisk 30-minute clash.

Among her group competitors is the World No. 4, Chen Meng from China, who is the current Olympic champion. Later the same day, Manika Batra, World No. 37, overcame an early setback to defeat Romania’s Adina Diaconu with a score of 3-1 (9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-8), concluding the match in 34 minutes. Batra’s subsequent group stage encounter will pit her against China’s World No. 2, Wang Manyu.

Each of the men’s and women’s singles divisions at the competition comprises 16 distinct groups. The format of the group stage dictates that each match consists of four games and final standings are determined by the ratio of games won to games lost. Only the ones who clinched the top position in their groups will advance to the elimination rounds.

Preparing for the Paris Olympics in women’s singles and team categories, Batra and Akula perceive the ITTF Singles World Cup as a chance to hone their abilities against top-tier players and calibrate their techniques for the impending contests.  

Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula were placed into challenging groups

The draws for the ITTF Singles World Cup, slated to occur at Macao’s Galaxy Arena from April 15 to 21, have placed Indian table tennis aces Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula into challenging groups. These draws were unveiled at a press conference held on the prior Sunday. In Group 2, India’s highest-rated female paddler, Manika Batra (World No. 38), is set to face World No. 2 Wang Manyu and World No. 45 Adina Diaconu.

These initial matchups propose a rigorous contest for Batra, particularly against Manyu, who bested her at the World Table Tennis Team Championships in February. Despite recent dips in form, including a first-round exit at the WTT Champions in Incheon last month, Batra remains a formidable presence in Indian table tennis.

Her notable quarterfinal finish at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou is a testament to her prowess. Ascending in the ranks, World No. 4 Sreeja Akula will confront defending champion Chen Meng in her respective group. With two WTT Feeder event victories under her belt this year, Akula aspires to leave an indelible impression on the international circuit and vie for the top Indian player spot.

The expanded roster for this year’s tournament features 48 players in each category, underscoring an intensely competitive field. Both Manika Batra and Sreeja Akula are tasked with the formidable challenge of emerging from their groups, an endeavor made more daunting by the stipulation that solely the group victors shall progress to the subsequent knockout stages.

More about ITTF Singles World Cup 2024

The anticipated ITTF Men’s and Women’s World Cup is scheduled to commence on April 15th, culminating on April 21st at Macao’s prestigious Galaxy Arena.  The 2024 edition heralds the tournament’s revival following a three-year hiatus, introducing an innovative format designed to enthrall table tennis enthusiasts worldwide. The singles World Cup is returning, after being replaced by the World Table Tennis WTT Cup Finals in 2021 and a mixed team event in 2023.

The structure of this year’s ITTF World Cup will unveil a reformed qualification mechanism, expanding the participant pool to approximately 48 contenders in each event category—an increase from the numbers in past tournaments. With the competition set to deliver a dynamic and exhilarating spectacle, athletes will vie for the preeminent position in their sport.

Fan Zhendong, China’s leading male player, emerges as the preeminent contender, targeting his fifth World Cup triumph. Simultaneously, in the women’s division, Chen Meng aspires to secure her second title. Although there has been no confirmation regarding broadcast coverage for the event in India, enthusiasts can access the ITTF Men’s and Women’s World Cup Macao 2024 via live stream on the ITTFWorld platform.

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