Tokyo Paralympics: India’s Sonalben Patel in action against China’s Qian Li on Wednesday.© Deepa Malik/Twitter
Indian paddler Sonalben Manubhai Patel suffered a close 3-2 defeat against China’s Qian Li in her opening match of Group D in women’s singles Class 3 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Wednesday. World number four Qian Li defeated Sonalben in five sets by 3-2 (9-11, 11-3, 15-17, 11-7, 11-4) in 36 minutes. Sonalben will now be up against South Korea’s Mi Gyu Lee on Thursday in her second Group D match. The Indian started the match on the front foot as she took the first game 11-9. Li then came back very strongly as she dominated and won the second game by 11-3 in just five minutes. The third game was a marathon as Patel held her nerves against the Rio 2016 silver medalist to edge 17-15.
The Chinese again shifted the momentum to her side as she forced the decider by winning the fourth game by 11-7. Qian gave no respite to Sonalben in the fifth game too, as she clinched it by 11-4.
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