ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup: Sathiyan on a song

Yokohama: G Sathiyan placed himself well within reach of a World Cup spot after the top-ranked Indian upset World No. 14 Chun Ting Wong of Hong Kong in positions 5-8 match at the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup here on Saturday. The 28th-ranked beat Wong 12-10, 10-12, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8 in a gruelling contest. The win against Hong Kong’s No. 1 player means that Sathiyan will take on Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei on Sunday to grab the fifth position.

The 17-year-old left-hander, who is seven places ahead of Sathiyan in the ITTF rankings, recently won his first men’s singles title at the Challenge Plus Oman Open when he beat top-seeded Falck Mattias in the final. In the same tournament, Sathiyan had entered the semifinals.

But it was a tough ask for Sathiyan this morning as the Indian failed to go past the second-seeded Chinese Ma Long in the quarterfinals when he lost 1-4 (5-11, 5-11, 11-6, 6-11, 3-11). Yet he managed to take a game off the reigning world and Olympic champion. In the classification match, Sathiyan began somewhat passive before taking the first game on extended points.

But then he lost second after leading 9-5 and upped the ante to wrap up the next three games to go up the ladder. Wong, who never lost to Sathiyan before, did well to recover in the fifth game but Sathiyan went from strength to strength to seal his fate. Sathiyan admitted it was tough against Long but he had a nice rhythm going against the Hong Kong player. “I had the measure of my opponent (Wong) in spite of the first two extended games,” said Sathiyan.

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