India’s top-ranked paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran pulled off a thrilling win in the decider against France’s Emmanuel Lebesson to lead his team to a 3-2 win at the World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden on Friday. This was the round of 13-20 classification.

With the tie evenly poised at 2-2, Sathiyan had to defeat the world No 28 for India to progress further in the competition and he pulled off the upset in style, winning 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 5-11, 11-9.

“A night to remember and cherish for the rest of my life,” Sathiyan posted on his Instagram account. “That was a sweet revenge as we took down the European Giants & world no 5 France 3-2 in an intense battle which went down to the wire. Really happy that I upset the European Champion & World no.28 Lebesson Emmanuel in the fifth and deciding match and helped the team complete the historic win.”

Earlier in the tie, Simon Gauzy gave France a winning start by defeating Sathiyan for the second time in the ongoing World Championships. The world No 10 overcame a slow start to defeat Sathiyan 5-11, 11-5, 11-6, 11-8. It was then up to Achanta Sharath Kamal to bring India back in to the tie and he did so by defeating Lebesson, ranked 20 places above him, in straight games 11-9, 11-7, 11-6. Harmeet Desai then made short work of world No 99 Quentin Robinot 11-2, 11-9, 7-11, 11-9 to put India ahead 2-1.

Sharath Kamal couldn’t repeat his group stage heroics when he upset the Gauzy in India’s 2-3 defeat and the tie went to the decider, which Sathiyan clinched in dramatic fashion. He reversed the result of the group stage encounter where he had lost to Lebesson in four games.

India now play Romania in the 13-16 classification round.

Meanwhile, the women’s team went down 3-0 against Hungary in their 13-20 classification tie. Mouma Das and Manika Batra stretched their opponents Georgina Pota and Dora Madarasz respectively but lost their matches by a 3-2 scoreline. Pooja Sahasrabudhe couldn’t trigger the comeback the women’s team would have hoped for, as she went down in straight games against Szandra Pergel.