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G Sathiyan goes down fighting to World No 4 in Asian TT Championship

G Sathiyan became the second Indian and the first since 1976 to qualify for the men's singles quarterfinal stage at the Asian TT Championship. In the semifinal, Sathiyan (ranked 30) gave the World Number 4 a run for his money before going down fighting.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: September 20, 2019 9:46:57 pm
G Sathiyan is the first Indian to reach the quarterfinal stage at the Asian Table Tennis Championships since 1976 (Twitter/SathiyanTT)

G Sathiyan on Friday went down fighting in the men’s singles quarterfinals at the Asian Table Tennis Championships to World number 4 Chinese Lin Gaoyuan. He is only the second Indian to reach the quarterfinal stage at this event and the first in 43 years.

He lost by a 7-11 5-11 11-8 8-11 scoreline in the semifinal, managing to come up with a fighting effort to draw level as the match wore on, but failing eventually.

Sathiyan, currently the top-ranked Indian in the world (ranked 30), hardly broke a sweat as he notched up a 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 win against An-Ji Song of North Korea in the pre-quarterfinal match earlier on Friday, to claim a slice of history in Indian sports.

The only other occasion when an Indian paddler had reached the singles quarterfinals was when Sudhir Phadke beat a Chinese in the pre-quarterfinals of the Asian Championships in Pyongyang way back in 1976.

“I am extremely happy to reach the quarterfinals for the first time and it has been a wonderful journey so far. I would really love to set the bar high for Indian table tennis and hungry to go even further in the tournament,” Saithyan said after qualifying for the quarters.

In the men’s singles round of 64, Sathiyan had accounted for Singapore’s Koh Dominic Song Jun 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 before beating Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 in the round of 32.

Sathiyan has been in excellent form at this event, having stayed unbeaten in the team event, where he beat World No. 5 Harimoto Tomokazu of Japan.

In the men’s doubles, the pair of Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal failed to reach the medal round in the men’s double as they lost to the Chinese duo of Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan 6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11.

Except for Sharath and Harmeet Desai who could not go past the round of 64, the other three Indians — Sathiyan, Amalraj and Manav — made it to the round of 32 in the men’s singles. Only Sathiyan survived to move into the pre-quarterfinals and then to the quarterfinals while the other two exited.

Amalraj lost to Chen Chien-An of Taipei 6-11, 8-11, 8-11, while Manav was beaten by another Taipei player Liao Cheng-Ting who won 11-9, 11-6, 11-3 in the round of 32.

Like Sharath, who lost to Japanese Takuya Jin 11-4, 5-11, 11-7, 6-11, 12-14, Harmeet Desai too went down fighting to Jang Woojin of Korea 11-7, 2-11, 5-11, 5-11 in the round of 64.

Among the women players, only Ayhika entered the pre-quarterfinals before losing to three-time world champion and reigning Olympic champion Ding Ning of China 5-11, 13-11, 4-11, 9-11.

Manika Batra lost to Hitomi Sato of Japan 9-11, 8-11, 4-11 in the round of 32 while Archana lost to Feng Tianwei of Singapore 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 4-11.

(With PTI inputs)

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