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CWG 2022: Sathiyan Gnanasekaran battles to win bronze medal in men's singles

India's Sathiyan Gnanasekaran after winning the bronze medal. (PC: Getty Images)
India's Sathiyan Gnanasekaran after winning the bronze medal. (PC: Getty Images)

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran held his nerve when it mattered to oust England's Paul Drinkhall 4-3 (11-9, 11-3, 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9) in a pulsating match to win the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games 2022 (CWG 2022) in Birmingham on Monday (August 8).

This is Sathiyan's third CWG 2022 medal. He won the gold medal in the team event and later won the silver medal in the men's doubles along with Achanta Sharath Kamal.

Sathiyan started on a strong note, racing to a 3-0 lead before Drinkhall came from behind to stun the Indian by restoring parity at 3-3.

In the decider, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran raced to a 7-3 lead before the English player took a slender lead at 9-8. However, Sathiyan kept his composure and did well to win the game 11-9 and the bronze medal as Drinkhall lost out.

After winning, he fell down on the ground, threw his racquet and shed tears of joy before running to his coach for an embrace.

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Social media was full of praise for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and the way he bounced back to win the CWG 2022 bronze medal. Here are some of the reactions:

Did anybody watch the just concluded #SathiyanGnanasekaran match.he just won Bronze 🥉 after an incredible 7 setter the decider was just pulsating and was on knife's edge with both players just 2 points away from the medal, Kudos to see Sathiyan holding his nerve @cricketwallah
Final day of #CWG22 for India:Gold medal match 1, badminton ✅Gold medal match 2, badminton ✅Bronze medal match, TT ✅Gold medal match 3, badminton ❓🤞Gold medal match, TT ❓🤞Gold medal match, hockey ❓🤞
What a game of #TableTennis for Bronze 🥉 Medal Men's Singles .ENG Paul Drinkhall came Behind from 3 set Down but #SathiyanGnanasekaran win the Game 4-3 . Emotions can be seen on Sathiyan after the Hard Fought Game .He deserves Bronze 🥉🔥#TeamIndia #Cheer4India #CWG22india https://t.co/bZ6rjY1ZMU
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran wins BRONZE for India in Table Tennis 🥳😀He breaks down after the win, he defeated England's Drinkhall to win 🥉#SathiyanGnanasekaran | #BronzeMedal | #TableTennis | #CommonwealthGames | #CWG22 | #CWG22India | #B2022 https://t.co/BhsYeiZEjN
Another medal for 🇮🇳India Sathiyan Gnanasekaran won 🥉bronze medal for 🇮🇳India in #CommonwealthGames2022you played like a champ.💪💪🤟We are proud of you❤️Many many congratulations 🎉🎉 #TableTennis #Cheer4India | #SathiyanGnanasekaran #CWG2022 | #B2022|#TeamIndia | #CWG22 https://t.co/7TZrA53szK
#BreakingNews | Bronze for India !🇮🇳#SathiyanGnanasekaran clinches the BRONZE🥉 following a Dramatic victory over Drinkhall of England in the #TableTennis Men's Single Bronze Medal match. @sathiyantt#CommonwealthGames2022#Cheer4India#India4CWG2022 https://t.co/qF3vRqHEzM
Another Medal for India #SathiyanGnanasekaran has won Bronze Medal in #TableTennis tears rolled down his cheeks as he won, is the moment to remember.#CommonwealthGames2022 @sathiyantt you rocked boy,#TableTennis https://t.co/NfFCyXTZ6a
What a thriller and what a victory for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran. Paul Drinkhall won the hearts #CWG2022 #SathiyanGnanasekaran #TableTennis #PaulDrinkhall https://t.co/3OermlIPW5
#SathiyanGnanasekaran you did indeed held your nerve man. #Drinkhall I am fan! What a fighter! #Bronze for #India4CWG2022
Have some mercy. Now #SathiyanGnanasekaran . Losing 3-0 lead and then to win by 4-3. Talk about mental strength of our players. 🤩😍 twitter.com/The_Nation_Hoo…
And #SathiyanGnanasekaran did it … 🥉 🏓 twitter.com/n_sundeep/stat…

Sathiyan Gnanasekaran loses the plot only to boucne back

The first three games were the Sathiyan Gnanasekaran show. Although Drinkhall came close to taking the lead in the first game, Sathiyan held his nerve at crucial junctures to put the game beyond the Englishman.

The second game was a breeze as Sathiyan reduced Drikhall to size, racing away to a 11-3 win. Sathiyan's precise control and excellent placement skills were key factors in his win.

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Drinkhall gave fans a glimpse of what he could do in the third game when he showed signs of crawling back. However, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran immediately upped the ante to get into a rhythm and close the third game in his favor 11-5.

Pushed to the wall, Drinkhall came up with his best reply. He scored six consecutive points to make it 9-5 and then closed the game in his favor by winning the final two points to win 11-8.

The fifth game was evenly contested but Drinkhall, overcoming an official intervention for unfair play after kicking the ball, emerged victorious. The duo then matched each other shot-for-shot in the sixth game, with Sathiyan crawling back to level the scores at 9-9, from 5-9.

The Englishman kept his cool to wrap the sixth game 12-10 to take the match to the decider.

Sathiyan had early control in the final game as he raced to a 7-1 lead. Drinkhall came back to make it 5-7 and then 9-8 before Sathiyan came back into the contest to win the match and the bronze medal.

Read: "Perfect blend of youth & experience" - Twitterati laud Achanta Sharath Kamal and Sreeja Akula for winning CWG 2022 gold medal

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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