Tokyo Olympics: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran loses a thriller to crash out in debut match
Playing a seven games thriller, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran failed to convert in the right moments and lost to World No. 95 player from Hong Kong.
World No. 38, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran made a strong debut but it wasn't enough as he lost to world No. 95 and 50th seed, Lam Siu Hang of Hong Kong in Round 2 of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In what could have been a pretty easy victory for Sathiyan, the match turned on its head with Lam Siu Hang making an incredible comeback and winning the clash, 11-7, 7-11, 4-11, 5-11, 11-9, 12-10, 11-6 in 63 minutes.
The 2016 Belgium Open and 2017 Spanish Open winner, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran held a 2-0 head to head lead over his 24-year-old opponent before this match and now, Siu Hang made it 2-1. With this win, Lam Siu Hang has progressed to the 3rd round of the Men's Singles event, for the first time.
The match started off with a fast paced rally by both the players. To put things into perspective, both the players were winning a point each and losing the next one. Eventually, Lam Siu Hang took the first game, 11-7; only the 2nd time between them that the Indian has dropped a game in their previous two meets
The second round went in favour of the Indian paddler. Spinning serves seem to be the call of the day, more rotation and less speed. Sathiyan blasted his way through to 8-5 lead and eventually took the game 11-7, equalling 1 games each between them and thus setting up the match in a very balanced way.
Sathiyan sprung to a 7-2 lead. The Hongkonger was constantly trying to push Sathiyan behind the table because that was one area where he was being successful in getting the points but Sathiyan countered it and superbly took the set 11-4, thus leading 2-1 games.
Sathiyan seemed to have shifted gears in the fourth game as he raced and almost killed off the game with a 9-0 lead. Siu Hang had no answers to Sathiyan's brilliance. The skills of power, precision, spin used by Sathiyan were unmatched by Siu Hang as the Indian closed out the 4th game with a score of 11-5 and took a 3-1 lead.
Siu Hang needed a comeback and although it seemed like the Indian was catching up fast on him, Siu Hang held on to the game point and fortunately for him, took the game 11-9; the match still in favour of the Indian with a 3-2 lead. Sathiyan was now one game away and Siu Hang, 2, to take the match.
Arguably the sixth game was the best game of the match, as it was a deuce. Most of the dominance was shown by the Hongkonger who took the set eventually 12-10 but not before Sathiyan made a comeback and almost won the game and the match. With the match tied at 3-3, it went all the way down to the 7th game to decide the winner.
The final game of the match was a cliffhanger as both the players gave it their all. Although Siu Hang was always leading the game, Sathiyan made sure that the Hongkonger never really got away.
But, incredible will and determination seemed to be the call of the day for the Hongkonger who advanced to the 3rd round by winning the final and decisive game with some fantastic display of table tennis and causing a massive upset for Indian table tennis fans.