Gritty Gnanasekaran bows out of Asian Table Tennis Championships

Table tennis star exits in the quarter-finals as Indian challenge ends.

By Swapnil Bhopatkar ·

Indian paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran became only the second Indian after Sudhir Phadke to reach the quarter-finals of the 2019 ITTF-ATTU Asian Table Tennis Championships in the singles event.

His celebration, however, was cut short as he went on to lose to China’s Lin Gaoyuan 7-11, 5-11, 11-8, 8-11 to bow out of the tournament on Friday.

Celebration shortened

Having defeated Iran’s Noshad Alamiyan 8-11, 11-7, 11-6, 11-5 in the Round of 32, the 26-year-old notched up an impressive 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 victory over An-Ji Song of North Korea to book a place in the quarter-finals.

Facing Gaoyuan, a 2017 Asian Cup champion, Gnanasekaran got off to an anxious start, losing two back to back games. A brilliant comeback in the third, however, was in vain as he went on to lose the subsequent game to end his quest in the tournament.

Earlier in the day, veteran Anthony Amalraj lost to Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-an 6-11, 8-11, 8-11 in what was an utterly one-sided affair. Newcomer Manav Thakkar, who defeated Japan’s Yoshimura Kazuhiro in the Round of 64 on Thursday, crashed out of the tournament following a 9-11, 6-11, 3-11 defeat at hands of Liao Cheng-ting of Chinese Taipei.

A tournament to forget

Unlike yesterday’s march, the women’s contingent started their day on a low after Archana Girish Kamath suffered 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 4-11 defeat to Singapore’s Tianwei Feng.

The disappointment continued as medal hopeful Manika Batra failed to put up a fight in a 9-11, 8-11, 4-11 loss to Japan’s Kasumi Ishikawa in the Round of 32.

The likes of Sutirtha Mukherjee and Madhurika Patkar soon followed suit before Ayhika Mukherjee broke the streak by defeating Batbayar Doljinzuu of Mongolia 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 to book a place in the pre-quarterfinals.

Mukherjee’s dream run, however, came to an upsetting end after bowing out 5-11, 13-11, 4-11, 9-11 against the reigning Olympic gold medallist, Ding Ning.

In the men’s doubles category, the pair of Achanta Sharath Kamal and Gnanasekaran played an entertaining five-game thriller against China’s Liang Jingkun and Lin Gaoyuan only to emerge as second-best, losing the tie 6-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-8, 7-11.