Sathiyan ends sixth, books World Cup berth



New Delhi, April 7: Fresh from his recent men singles title win at the Challenge Plus Oman Open, 17-year-old Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei proved far superior to 26-year-old G. Sathiyan as the former defeated the Indian 4-0 (11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 14-12) to finish fifth in the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup at Yokohama on Sunday.


Notwithstanding the defeat in the positions match, Sathiyan booked his World Cup berth to be held in Chengdu between October 18 and 20.


The world No. 21 left-hander was at his usual best and even before Sathiyan, the world No. 28, could realise the enormity of the positions match, was way ahead taking he first game. Sathiyan managed a few more points in the next two games but the left-hander Taipei, exploiting the angles well, mounted the attack to put pressure on the Indian.


Sathiyan could have take a game of the Taipei’s No. 2 paddler when in the fourth he had two game points but the wily teenager pocketed it to push Sathiyan, who is competing in his first Asian Cup, to the sixth spot.


Sathiyan close to grabbing a World Cup slot


New Delhi, April 6: G. Sathiyan placed himself well within reach of a slot in the Chengdu World Cup to be held in October as the top-ranked Indian in the world defeated world No. 14 Chun Ting Wong of Hong Kong in positions 5-8 match 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 in the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup at Yokohama on Saturday.


The win against Hong Kong’s No. 1 player has meant that the world No. 28 will take on Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei in a clash to grab position 5 tomorrow. The 17-year-old left-hander, who is seven places ahead of Sathiyan, recently won his first men singles title at the Challenge Plus Oman Open when he beat top-seeded Falck Mattias in the final. In the same tournament, Sathiyan had entered the semifinals.


But it was a tough ask for G. Sathiyan this morning as the Indian failed to go past the second-seeded Chinese Ma Long in the quarterfinals when he lost 1-4 (5-11, 5-11, 11-6, 6-11, 3-11). Yet he managed to take a game off the reigning world and Olympic champion.


In contrast, however, Sathiyan began somewhat passive before taking the first game on extended points. But then he lost second after leading 9-5 and upped the ante to wrap up the next three games to go up the ladder. Wong, who never lost to Sathiyan before, did well to recover in the fifth game but Sathiyan went from strength to strength to seal his fate.


Sathiyan admitted it was a tough against former world No. 1 but he had a nice rhythm going against the Hong Kong player. “I had the measure of my opponent (Wong) in spite of the first two extended games. Once I took the third and fourth games, I knew I was close to it  (win),” said Sathiyan.


Sathiyan enters Asian Cup preliminary round; it’s curtains for Sharath and Manika


New Delhi, April 5: G. Sathiyan was the lone Indian to progress to the preliminary round while it was curtains for both A. Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra at the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup on the opening day at Yokohama on Friday.


Sathiyan, the world No. 28 who had reached the semi-finals at the Challenge Plus Oman Open in Muscat recently, accounted for the most experienced player in the tournament, Chuang Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 to finish third in Group C. This enabled him to qualify for the playoff tomorrow for one of the two slots in the quarterfinals.


The tournament’s format allows the top two players in each of the first three groups directly making the quarterfinal grade while those who had finished third in those groups and the fourth group (D) topper complete for the remaining two slots.


Sathiyan began badly losing first to Koki Nowa of Japan 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11 but won the match against No. 8 seed from Taipei 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 before losing the last group match to Lee Sangsu of Korea 7-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-5.


The No. 10 seeded Indian will take on Kazakh’s Kirill Gerassimenko tomorrow in the preliminary round. A win for the Indian will put him in an enviable position as he would join the top six in the quarterfinals where he may be facing one of the two top seeds, Fan Zhendong Ma Long of China.


Earlier, Sharath, ranked No. 37 in the world and placed in group B failed lost all three matches as he opened with a loss to second-seeded Ma Long 5-11, 5-11, 5-11, then Taipei’s Yun-Ju Lin 12-10, 6-11, 9-11, 8-11 before finally losing to Tamokazu Harimoto of Japan 6-11, 12-14, 11-9, 11-5, 7-11 end his unsuccessful campaign.


For the double gold medal winner at the CWG and Asian Games mixed doubles bronze winner Manika Batra, it must have come as a real shock when she failed to win a single match despite having been pitted against the lesser players and in the regional group D.


The Indian, who is ranked No. 56 in the world, lost both her opening matches to players she had never lost before. Manika opened against Iran’s No. 2 player, Ashtari Mahshid who won 10-12, 5-11, 11-5, 11-8, 11-6. Then the Indian went down to Singapore’s Ye Lin 7-11, 13-15, 8-11 tamely before overcoming Maha Faramarzi of Qatar 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 to finish third ahead of the bottom-finisher Qatari.