Austrian Open 2018: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran beats Youth Olympic champion as rest of the Indians exit
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran kept the Indian flag flying high at the 2018 ITTF World Tour Platinum LIEBHERR Austrian Open in Linz, Austria on Tuesday as rest of the Indian paddlers crashed out of this prestigious tournament in the preliminary round.
The 25-year-old held his nerves for a thrilling 11-8, 12-14, 11-8, 11-7, 18-16 win over China’s Wang Chuqin, who won the gold in both men’s singles and mixed doubles at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires just a month ago.
The win helped him progress to the third preliminary round of this tournament where Sathiyan will meet Slovakia’s 34-year-old Lubomir Pistej, ranked 70th in the world currently.
Sathiyan has climbed to a career-high No. 35 in the rankings this month and is the India No. 2 behind Achanta Sharath Kamal, who is also at his career-high ranking of No. 31. But the latter could not live up to the expectations and went down narrowly to Japan’s 208th ranked Kohei Sambe 11-6, 5-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-3, 9-11, 9-11 in a major disappointment for India.
Young Manav Vikash Thakkar also bowed out with a 9-11, 5-11, 5-11, 11-13 loss to World No. 20 Simon Gauzy while Harmeet Desai failed to take more than a game in his 5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 9-11, 6-11 defeat to World No. 25 Kristian Karlsson of Sweden.
Anthony Amalraj too suffered the same fate when he crashed out 10-12, 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 4-11 to the 55th ranked Tokic Bojan of Slovenia.
In women’s singles, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manika Batra’s valiant fight went in vain as she lost 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 5-11, 7-11 to Japan’s World No. 338 Shiho Matsudaira in the first round of preliminary matches.
Mallika Bhandarkar, Archana Girish Kamath, and Madhurika Patkar all crashed out in the first round as well.
On Wednesday, along with Sathiyan, a few Indian doubles pairs too will be in action of which the one to watch will be the team of Asian Games bronze medallists Sharath Kamal and Batra.