Indian table tennis player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran notched up what he called “the best win of my career” as he beat world No 16 Marcos Freitas 4-3 in the first round of the Austrian Open on Thursday.
Sathiyan, ranked 35th in the world, beat the 14th seed after an exciting duel that lasted seven games. The 25-year-old Indian won 4-11, 11-9, 11-9, 8-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7.
“I’m lost for words,” Sathiyan was quoted as saying by the International Table Tennis Federation’s website after the match. “It is the best win of my career so far. I’m very proud and happy.”
Sathiyan will need to be even better in the round of 16, where he will take on former Asian Games gold medallist and world No 2 Xu Xin of China. The Indian should draw some confidence going into that fixture, as he has beaten two higher-ranked opponents already in this tournament. He had earlier beaten world No 17 and Asian Championships silver medallist Jeong Sanguen from Korea 4-2 to enter the main draw.
“Thank you to everybody in India for all the support, it has been immense,” Sathiyan added. “There is still a long way to go, please keep supporting me.”
Sathiyan wasn’t the only paddler who caused an upset on Thursday. China’s Zheng Peifeng, Japan’s Jin Ueda and England’s Liam Pitchford all beat higher-ranked opponents.