India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Sanil Shetty bagged the silver medal at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Thailand Open after a rather unexpected defeat in the final of the men’s doubles event on Sunday in Bangkok.

Sathiyan and Sanil, India’s second and third ranked players, were the top seeds of the doubles category but they lost in four games against Tobias Hippler and Kilian Ort from Germany, an unseeded pair who came through the qualification stages of the tournament. Hippler and Ort won 12-10, 9-11. 12-10, 11-7. For the German duo, this was their first ever ITTF World Tour or ITTF Challenge Series title.

In a tight first game, the players kept at each other which the Germans eventually took 12-10. The Indian pair fought back in the second game, despite being 1-4 down and levelled the match. Another hard-fought game followed, where Sanil and Sathiyan - a left-right combination just like their opponents - tried to sneak ahead but a well-timed ‘time out’ by the Germans helped them cross the line, and take a 2-1 lead. They carried that momentum in the next game and wrapped up the final in four.

It was a dream run for the Hippler and Ort who almost did not make the main draw of the tournament, trailing 2-0 in one of the qualification games. They then put together a wonderful run of results, accounting for four seeded pairs on their way to clinching the gold medal.

Earlier on Saturday, Sanil and Sathiyan had defeated fellow Indians Manav Thakkar and Harmeet Desai in the semi-final. Manav and Harmeet, thereby, finished with the bronze medal.