MANOTA OPENS 2018 BARFOOT & THOMPSON NZ BADMINTON OPEN CAMPAIGN
NZ Champion Abhinav Manota is underway in the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Badminton Open, winning his way into the main draw of mixed doubles with partner Justine Villegas, defeating fellow Kiwis Chris Steeghs and Rebecca Fong 21-10, 21-15.
“I am very excited and luckily the Australians pulled out of the qualifying, so we drew another Kiwi combination that we knew well and were very confident against. That was a good match though and great to get a feel for the stadium ahead of our next matches,” said Mani.
Manota will play his first-round men’s singles tomorrow (Wednesday) against well credentialled Indian Sourabh Verma.
“Now I have that match out of the way, I am feeling good. The first match can be a tough one as you get used to the shuttles. My next match will be my singles tomorrow now I think, but I will have a hit again to get ready for that.”
The enormity of their task in the main mixed doubles draw was quickly apparent however, as Manota and Villegas are due to face the second seeds from China.
“The main draw is tough, we are up against the second seed Chinese, they are high up – I think top 15 in the world. What an experience for us though and it is one that we get as a result of the Barfoot & Thompson NZ Open having such a good reputation and attracting high ranked players like this, it is going to be a great chance for Justine and I.”