Sathiyan suffers early exit at German Open

The Indian lost 2-4 against Rares Sipos of Romania in the preliminary rounds of the competition.

India’s top-ranked men’s singles paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran was eliminated in the second preliminary round of the 2019 ITTF German Open after losing his match against Romanian Rares Sipos.

With Gnanasekaran’s exit, India’s hopes rest on Manika Batra and Harmeet Desai in the singles category.

Slow start

After receiving a bye in the earlier round, Gnanasekaran struggled to find his groove in the first couple of games and ended up losing them 8-11, 7-11. The Indian struggled to capitalise on his serve throughout the match, conceding as many as 26 points while serving.

Gnanasekaran, who is one of India’s Tokyo 2020 prospects, did well to fight back in the third game, winning 11-6 while holding a six-point lead at the start. In the fourth game though, Sipos fought back and picked up the first nine points.

The Indian did exceptionally well to draw level, but the Romanian maintained his composure to seal the game 11-9.

While the 26-year-old Gnanasekaran once again showed signs of a comeback winning the fifth game 11-6, it was going to be Sipos who clinched the match with a 12-10 victory in the final game.

Along with Gnanasekaran, Sanil Shetty, Anthony Amalraj and Achanta Sharath Kamal too lost their respective matches in the preliminary rounds to be eliminated from the competition.

Harmeet Desai had first reached the national championships final in 2013
Harmeet Desai had first reached the national championships final in 2013Harmeet Desai had first reached the national championships final in 2013

Desai marches on

Despite these results, there was some hope as Harmeet Desai continued his fine performance at the German Open and won his third preliminary round match against Belgium’s Florent Lambiet.

After an early win over local player Nils Hohmeier, Desai was high on confidence and dominated his match against the Belgian winning it 11-6, 13-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8. The Indian was on top of his serve, winning 27 points off it in the entirety of the match to gain a commanding victory.

Desai is now just one win away from making it to the main draw and will play Denmark’s Jonathan Groth next in the competition.

India’s top-ranked women’s paddler Manika Batra is also in contention in the competition and will need just a win over Barbora Balazova of Slovakia in her match scheduled later in the day.

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