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.
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:
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.
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.