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Table Tennis: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran qualifies for the World Cup after beating World No. 14

Table Tennis: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran qualifies for the World Cup after beating World No. 14

Sounak Mullick

Published: 7 April 2019 5:51 AM GMT
Top-ranked Indian paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran booked a berth in the World Cup after he stunned the World No. 14 Chun Ting Wong of Hong Kong at the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup at Yokohama on Saturday. The Indian had the better of his opponent with scores of 12-10, 10-12, 11-5,11-6, 11-8 in the clash for the 5-8 positions. The win against the top-ranked player from Hong Kong set him up with a clash against Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei where he lost and finished overall sixth. Left-handed Chun Ting Wong, who is aged 17, is 14 places ahead of the Indian in the world rankings. He recently won his first singles title at the Challenge Plus Oman Open with a victory over the top-seeded Falck Mattias in the final. On the other hand, Sathiyan was knocked out in the semi-finals of the particular tournament, this has been a huge improvement for the Chennai-born. Sathiyan earlier crashed out of the ongoing tournament after facing stiff competition from the reigning Olympic and World Champion Ma Long in the quarter-finals. Although he managed to sneak out a single game, he eventually lost the match 5-11, 5-11, 11-6, 6-11, 3-11). But the win on Saturday will give him immense confidence as it is arguably one of the best performances in his career so far. He surpassed legendary Sharath Kamal to become the highest ranked Indian player. “It is a great feeling to qualify for the World Cup that too on a World TT day. Overall the tournament has been excellent. I am looking forward to finish it on a high note as I will play Lin and try to finish as No.5," said the athlete to Sportstar. Sathiyan confessed that he played his best table tennis in the Asia Cup, especially due to his memorable wins over higher ranked opponents in the likes of Chinese Taipei’s Chih-Yuan Chuang and Wong.
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