The Chennai paddler Gnanasekaran Sathiyan notched up an 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 win against An-ji Song of North Korea in the pre-quarterfinal match at the Asian Table Tennis Championships. Among the women players, only Ayhika entered the pre-quarterfinals before losing to Ding Ning of China.
Gnanasekaran Sathiyan on Friday became only the second Indian to reach the men’s singles quarter-finals at the Asian Table Tennis Championships when he defeated An-ji Song of North Korea 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 at Yogyakarta in Indonesia.
Sathiyan, currently the top-ranked Indian in the world, hardly broke a sweat as he notched up a straight-sets win against his North Korean opponent in the pre-quarterfinal match that lasted 22 minutes.
The only other occasion when an Indian paddler had reached the singles quarter-finals was when Sudhir Phadke beat a Chinese in the pre-quarterfinals of the Asian Championships in Pyongyang way back in 1976.
Sathiyan will take on world No 4 Chinese Lin Gaoyuan in the quarter-finals. “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,” Sathiyan said to Scroll.in.
Sathiyan believes he is the underdog in the match and the pressure will be on the Chinese so he has to play his best and aim for the win.
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. The other two Indians who went out in the round of 32 were Amalraj who lost to Chen Chien-An of Taipei 6-11, 8-11, 8-11 and Manav was beaten by another Taipei player Liao Cheng-Ting who won 11-9, 11-6, 11-3 in the round of 32
In the 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 Lin Gaoyuan 6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11.
Sharath and Harmeet Desai were the only two Indian men who could not go past the round of 64. Sharath lost to Japanese Takuya Jin 11-4, 5-11, 11-7, 6-11, 12-14 and Harmeet Desai went down fighting to Jang Woojin of Korea 11-7, 2-11, 5-11, 5-11.
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.