Sathiyan, second Indian to enter Asian Championships last 8

Gnanasekaran Sathiyan on Friday became only the second Indian to reach the men’s singles quarter-finals of the Asian Table Tennis Championships by defeating An-Ji Song of North Korea here.
Sathiyan, second Indian to enter Asian Championships last 8
Gnanasekaran Sathiyan


Sathiyan, the top-ranked Indian in the world, hardly broke a sweat as he notched up a 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 win in the pre-quarterfinal duel that lasted just 22 minutes. Sudhir Phadke was the first Indian to reach the last eight stage at the Asiads. He had made it to the quarter-finals in Pyongyang way back in 1976.

The Indian, ranked 30, will take on World No.4 Lin Gaoyuan (China) next. “I am extremely happy to qualify for the quarters for the first time. It has been a wonderful journey so far. I would really love to set the bar high for Indian table tennis. I am hungry to go even further in the tournament,” said an elated Saithyan.

Asked what his plans would be for the upcoming round, Sathiyan responded: “I will go for a win and try to play my best. I am the underdog and all the pressure is on Gaoyuan.” 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.

In men’s doubles, the pair of Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal failed to reach the medal round as they lost to the Chinese duo of Liang Jingkun and Gaoyuan 6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11. While Sharath and Harmeet could not get past the Round-of-64, three Indians - Sathiyan, Amalraj and Manav Thakkar - made it to the Round-of-32 in men’s singles.

Among the trio, only Sathiyan survived, making it to the quarters. Amalraj lost to Chen Chien-An of Taipei 6-11, 8-11, 8-11 in the Round-of-32, while Manav was beaten by another Taipei player Liao Cheng-Ting, who won 11-9, 11-6, 11-3. Like Sharath, who lost to Japanese Takuya Jin 11-4, 5-11, 11-7, 6-11, 12-14, Harmeet too went down 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 title-winner 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. Archana suffered a 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 4-11 defeat at the hands of Feng Tianwei of Singapore.

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