Ayhika Mukherjee, an upcoming table tennis player, advanced to the women's singles main draw at the WTT Grand Smash Singapore 2022 on Wednesday after overcoming three qualifying rounds. She came back from a 2-1 deficit to overcome Sabina Surjan of Serbia 3-2 (12-10, 5-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7).
Mukherjee had defeated former European champion Daniela Dodean of Romania and Tokyo Olympian Debora Vivarelli of Italy earlier in the day. She is also the only one of the eight Indian players - three men and five women - who qualified for the main draw.
Starting on Friday, Mukherjee will compete in the women's singles with world No. 49 Manika Batra. Manav Thakkar, Commonwealth Games gold medalist Sutirtha Mukherjee, Harmeet Desai, and Anthony Amalraj all crashed out of the first Grand Smash of the year in the early rounds.
Sutirtha lost 3-1 against Mateja Jeger of Croatia after defeating fellow Indian Sreeja Akula in the second round, while Harmeet Desai was blanked 3-0 by Shunsuke Togami of Japan earlier in the day.
Meanwhile, Anthony Amalraj was ousted in the first round after losing 3-1 against Chinese Taipei's Liao Cheng-ting. In the women's singles, Archana Kamath and Madhurika Patkar were the other Indians who failed to qualify for the final round.
Archana Kamath and Manika Batra will now play in the women's doubles.
Batra and Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who are both in the main draws for singles and doubles, will play mixed doubles together.
The two Indian direct entrants in the men's singles are world No. 33 Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and world No. 34 Sharath Kamal. In the men's doubles, the two top-ranked Indian table tennis players will also pair up.
Starting this year, the Grand Smashes will be the highest-tier event on the yearly schedule. Every year, four Grand Smashes will take place in various cities. World No. 1 Fan Zhendong and Sun Yingsha, as well as Olympic winners Ma Long and Chen Meng, will compete at the Grand Smash Singapore 2022.