G. Sathiyan reached a big milestone in his career when he became only the second Indian to reach the men's singles quarter-finals at the continental event after defeating An-Ji Song of North Korea in the 24th ITTF-ATTU Asian Table Tennis Championships at Yogyakarta, Indonesia on Friday.
The only other occasion when an Indian paddler had reached the singles quarter-finals was when Delhi's Sudhir Phadke beat a Chinese in the pre-quarterfinals of the Asian Championships in Pyongyang, way back in 1976.
The win for the top-ranked Indian in the world was as easy as it can get as Sathiyan beat the North Korean 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 in less than 22 minutes.
The Indian, ranked No. 30 in the world, will next take on World No. 4 Chinese Lin Gaoyuan in the quarter-finals, to be played later in the day.
"Extremely happy to reach the quarter-finals for the first time and it has been a wonderful journey so far. I would really love to set the bar high for Indian table tennis and hungry to go even further in the tournament," Saithyan said.
Asked what his plans would be against his next opponent, Sathiyan said: "I will go with an aim to win and try to play my best. I am an underdog and all the pressure is on Gao (Gaoyuan), he added.
Reminded that he and Sharath had a wonderful outing against him and his partner earlier in the day during the men's doubles, Sathiyan said: "Yes, we were almost in the medal round and that would have been historic. But in the decider they (Chinese) pulled it off." he said.
Among the women players, only Ayhika entered the pre-quarterfinals before bowing out to three-time world champion and reigning Olympic champion Ding Ning of China 5-11, 13-11, 4-11, 9-11.
However, it was creditable that Ayhika could take a game of the top-notch left-hander and event put up a great resistance in the fourth game before being subdued. Ayhika had earlier beaten Mongolian Batbayar Doljinzuu 11-6, 11-7, 11-3 in the previous round.
During the day, Archana lost to Feng Tianwei of Singapore 9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 4-11, Sutirtha Mukherjee went down to Jeoin Jihee of Korea 12-14, 10-12, 11-9, 5-11, even as Madurika Patkar was beaten by Hitomi Sato of Jpaan 11-6, 11-9, 11-4 and Kasuki Ishikawa from Japan beat Manika Batra 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 in the round of 32.
( 411 Words)