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Sathiyan wins Spanish gold; Manika-Mouma pair adds silver

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New Delhi, November 27: G. Sathiyan added to his list of prestigious titles in the Mediterranean coastal resort of Almeria, when he beat Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura 4-2 (11-7, 3-11, 11-6, 6-11, 13-11, 11-7) in the men singles final of the 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open last night.

 

The ninth seeded Indian’s calculated game enabled the 24-year-old to prevail over the 11th seed, who displayed sheer power but Sathiyan won the day because of the full control he has had over his Japanese rival.

 

Incidentally, this was Sathiyan’s second major title as he had won the singles gold two years ago in the ITTF World Tour Belgium Open.

 

 

Leading 2-1, Sathiyan led the fourth game 4-2 but Yoshimura won the next four points to go 6-4 up and from there he never surrendered. Yet again, Sathiyan played brilliant in the next and led 7-6 before calling timeout. On return, the Indian moved ahead 9-7 but then lost the next three points when the score stood 2-2.

 

With the match in balance, Yoshimura had a good chance of taking a 3-2 lead but lost miserably despite being 11-10. Sathiyan won the next three points to secure the game and consolidate his position.

 

In the sixth game, Sathiyan was confidence personified as he went ahead 5-2, to force the Japanese call timeout. But it did not help him much as Sathiyan, pressing home the advantage, stepped on the gas pedal to create a wide gap, taking complete control of the final.

 

Incidentally, this was the second ITTF Challenge Series title won by an Indian this year after Soumyajit Ghosh beat compatriot Anthony Amalraj in Chile Open final a few months ago.

 

 

Earlier, Indian pair of Manika Batra and Mouma Das, seeded second, went down to the top-seed Korean duo of Jihee Jeon and Haeun Yang 11-9, 6-11, 11-9, 9-11, 9-11 in a thrilling women doubles final.

 

The Indians had to satisfy themselves with the silver despite putting up a good fight after being down 1-2 and level score. However, in the decider, the experienced Korean pair made fewer mistakes and converted a good number of winners, paving the way for yet another title to the Koreans.

 

However, it was a creditable performance by the Indians who forced the issue to the last two points to become the first Indian women’s pair to finish with the silver medal in a Challenge series.

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