G Sathiyan finished his impressive ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup campaign with a tough defeat against teenager Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei in the fifth position playoff. The latter won won 4-0 (11-4, 11-8, 11-8, 14-12) in Yokohama on Sunday.
Fresh from his recent men’s singles title win at the Challenge Plus Oman Open, 17-year-old Yun-ju proved far superior to 26-year-old Sathiyan.
Notwithstanding the defeat in the positions match, however, Sathiyan booked his ITTF Men’s World Cup berth to be held in Chengdu, China between October 18 and 20 where only 20 of the best players around the globe will complete.
The official participant list will be based on ITTF rankings issued in August as well as finishing positions in the continental tournaments but a sixth-placed finish in the toughest qualification around all but assures Sathiyan of his spot in Chengdu.
In the positions match, the world No 21 left-hander from Taipiei was at his usual best and even before Sathiyan, the world No 28, could realise the enormity of the task, the youngster breezed through the first game. Sathiyan managed a few more points in the next two games but the left-hander Taipei, exploiting the angles well, mounted the attack to put pressure on the Indian.
Sathiyan could have take a game of the Taipei’s No 2 paddler when in the fourth he had two game points but the wily teenager pocketed it to push Sathiyan, who is competing in his first Asian Cup, to the sixth spot.
It was nevertheless an impressive result for Sathiyan who qualified for the quarter-finals at his first time of competing at the prestigious event. He had lost to eventual runner-up and reigning Olympic champion Ma Long in the last eight before pulling off what he termed the ‘biggest win of his career’ against word No 14 Hong Kong’s Chun Ting Wong in the 5/8 classification round.
In the men’s singles final, world No 1 Fan Zhendong defeated compatriot Ma Long, the 6th seed, 9-11, 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 11-8, 12-10 to once again reserve the top step of the podium, after winning the title in 2018 as well.
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