G Sathiyan, Harmeet Desai record fine wins in European TT leagues

While Sathiyan Gnanasekaran was in good form in the Polish Superliga, Harmeet Desai began his French Pro B League campaign with a quality show.

By Naveen Peter ·

Indian table tennis ace Sathiyan Gnanasekaran led from the front as his team Sokolaw SA Jaroslaw recorded a convincing 3-0 win over Olimpia-Unia in the Polish Superliga on Sunday evening.

Coming on the back of a hard-fought win in the opening round, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran scored a come-from-behind win against Russia’s Maxim Chaplygin of Olimpia in the opening tie.

Maxim Chaplygin won the first two games but Sathiyan was unfazed as rallied to win the contest 11-9, 11-6, 7-11, 8-11, 9-11.

“He was attacking really well and finished the first game very quickly. After the third game, I started to read (the game) better and play more aggressively,” the world No. 32 Sathiyan told Sportstar following his win.

“I started taking the initiative and attacking the right areas, which worked well for me. In the decider, I felt I was rushing through the points and needed to stay composed. We exchanged a few long rallies and, in the end, I was able to seal the win.”

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran’s win was followed by a dominant display from his team-mate Lei Kou of Ukraine who won his tie against Poland’s Marco Golla 11-5,11-6,11-6.

Later, local star Chmiel Pawel wrapped up the match for Sokolaw SA Jaroslaw with a 11-6, 11-7, 3-11, 11-7 win over compatriot Jan Zandecki.

Harmeet Desai returns to action

Meanwhile, India’s seasoned pro, Harmeet Desai, too was back in action for the first time in seven months following the COVID-19 restrictions. 

Competing in his first French Pro B League tie, Desai was in the thick of the action as he won two matches to help his side Roanne LNTT to a win over Isseenne E.P. 

Taking the table for the first match of the contest, world No. 72 Harmeet Desai was taken the distance in the opening game by the Frenchman Alexis Douin.

Indian table tennis player Harmeet Desai. Photo: ITTF.

At deuce, the Indian held his nerve to win the opening game and from there on dominated the proceedings to win 12-10,11-8,11-8. 

Later, while Ibrahima Diaw doubled Roanne LNTT’s advantage with an 11-8,11-2,11-7 win over Mexican Marcos Madrid, Martin Allegro’s loss to Remi Menand in the third, meant Harmeet Desai was back on the table. 

Up against world No. 75 Marcos Madrid, Harmeet Desai had to be on his toes. While the Mexcian started in a commanding fashion and took the opening game 11-3, Harmeet Desai roared back with an 11-6 win. 

The see-saw battle witnessed the players level at 2-2 games each but Desai escaped with a 3-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-8, 11-8 win in the deciding match.

“My reactions were a bit slower. I was regularly practising but playing a match different ball game altogether. My match temperament was not the same as before due to lack of match practice,” the Indian said following his win.