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Sathiyan second Indian to enter Asian quarters

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New Delhi, Sept 20: G. Sathiyan reached a big milestone in his career when he became the only second Indian to reach the men singles quarterfinals at the prestigious continental event when he defeated An-Ji Song of North Korea in the 24th ITTF-ATTU Asian Table Tennis Championships at Yogyakarta, Indonesia, today.

 

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

 

The win for the top-ranked Indian in the world was as easy as it can get as Sathiyan beat the North Korean 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 in less than 22 minutes.  

 

The Indian, ranked No. 30 in the world, will next take on world No. 4 Chinese Lin Gaoyuan in the quarterfinals, to be player later tonight.  

 

“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,” said an elated Saithyan.

 

Asked what his plans would be against his next opponent, Sathiyan said: “I will go with an aim to win and try to play my best. I am underdog and all the pressure is on Gao (Gaoyuan), he added.

 

Reminded that he and Sharath had a wonderful outing against him and his partner earlier in the day during the men doubles, Sathiyan said, “Yes, we were almost in the medal round and that would have been historic. But in the decider they (Chinese) pulled it off,” he said.

 

For the record, in the round of 64, Sathiyan had accounted for Singapore’s Koh Dominic Song Jun 11-6, 11-4, 11-5 and then beat Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 in the round of 32.

 

After having lost in the round of 64, A. Sharath Kamal redeemed himself in the company of Sathiyan to take the Chinese pair of Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan the full distance in the men doubles. In the see-saw match, the Chinese overcame the tough Indian pair 6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11 to enter the medal round.

Both had played a wonderful quarterfinal which kept the audience on the end of their seat with the match going down to the wire. In the end, the experienced Chinese pair wrapped it up with a lot to spare.

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

 

Amalraj lost to Chen Chien-An of Taipei 6-11, 8-11, 8-11, while Manav was felled by another Taipei paddler, Liao Cheng-Ting who won 11-9, 11-6, 11-3 in R-32. However, the paddler from Surat had beaten Japanese Yoshimura Kazuhiro 10-12, 11-13, 16-14, 11-4, 11-9 in a tough round of 64 matches.

 

Like Sharth, 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 R-64.

 

Among the women players, only Ayhika entered the pre-quarterfinals before bowing out to three-time world champion and reigning Olympic champion Ding Ning of China 5-11, 13-11, 4-11, 9-11. However, it was creditable that Ayhika could take a game of the top-notch left-hander and event put up a great resistance in the fourth game before being subdued. Ayhika had earlier beaten Mongolian Batbayar Doljinzuu 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 in the previous round.

 

During the day, Archana lost to Feng Tianwei of Singapore 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 4-11, Sutirtha Mukherjee went down to Jeoin Jihee of Korea 12-14, 10-12, 11-9, 5-11, even as Madurika Patkar was beaten by Hitomi Sato of Jpaan 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 and Kasuki Ishikawa from Japan beat Manika Batra 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 in the round of 32.

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