India’s top-ranked paddler lost 1-4 to Timo Boll of Germany.
India’s table tennis hope Sathiyan Gnanasekaran’s journey in the ITTF Men’s World Cup in Chengdu has come to an end, after he went down fighting against Germany’s Timo Boll in the first knockout phase match.
The Indian started strongly, winning the first game, but failed to build on that momentum as the veteran Boll clinched the match (4-1) to advance to the quarterfinals.
It was the Indian paddler who was quick off the blocks against his German counterpart, sealing up the first game (11-7).
Sathiyan’s steady defensive shots were his best friend in the opening game, as Boll hit a few shots out of bounds. The Indian paddler picked up four points on the trot at one point in the first game to consolidate his good start.
But world number eight Boll showed his class in the second and third games, winning them 11-8, 11-5 respectively. His rapid shots and pinpoint accuracy caused all sorts of problems for Sathiyan, who struggled to find effective replies.
The German paddler also made the most of his serve, winning six points in that second game and seven in the third. Sathiyan on the other hand conceded nine points while serving in those two games.
Sathiyan showed greater fight in the two subsequent games, but Boll proved to be too strong an opponent for him. The German international claimed the fourth game (11-9) to move closer towards victory.
He continued his aggressive style of play, mixing it up with a few sliced shots this time, which completely outfoxed Sathiyan. The Indian fought valiantly to try and salvage the game, picking up three crunch points to get the score to 9-10 at one point, but totally missed the flight of a loopy shot from Boll and ended up conceding a third straight game.
Sathiyan started off brightly in the must-win fifth game, showing a similar spirit to the fightback that helped him secure a place in the main draw of the ITTF World Cup.
The Indian paddler picked up two of the first three points and led the game (7-5) at one moment. 38-year-old Boll though, showed his experience, as he maintained his composure to pick up three points on the trot to get into the lead. Boll ultimately clinched the fifth game (11-8) to advance to the quarterfinals, where he will face local Chinese star Fan Zhendong.