Yokohama, April 5: G. Sathiyan was the lone Indian to progress to the preliminary round while it was curtains for both A. Sharath Kamal and Manika Batra in the ITTF-ATTU Asian Cup table tennis meet here on Friday.
Sathiyan, the world No. 28 who had reached the semifinals of the Oman Open recently, beat the most experienced player in the tournament, Chuang Chih-Yuan of Chinese Taipei, 11-5, 11-4, 11-8 to finish third in Group C. This enabled him to qualify for the playoffs on Saturday for one of the two slots in the quarterfinals.
The tournament’s format allows the top two players in each of the first three groups to directly make the quarterfinal grade while those finishing third in those groups and the fourth group topper compete for the remaining two quarterfinal slots.
Sathiyan began badly, losing to Koki Nowa of Japan 7-11, 9-11, 12-10, 8-11. But he won against eighth seed Chih-Yuan before losing the last group match to Lee Sangsu of Korea 7-11, 4-11, 11-6, 11-5.
The 10th seed Indian will now take on Kazakhstan’s Kirill Gerassimenko in the preliminary round on Saturday. A win for the Indian will put him in an enviable position as he would join the top six in the quarterfinals where he may face one of the two top seeds — Fan Zhendong or Ma Long, both from China.
Earlier, world No. 37 Sharath Kamal lost all the three matches in Group B. He opened with a 5-11, 5-11, 5-11 loss to second seed Ma Long before going down against Chinese Taipei’s Yun-Ju Lin 12-10, 6-11, 9-11, 8-11. In the third match, Sharath Kamal lost to Tamokazu Harimoto of Japan 6-11, 12-14, 11-9, 11-5, 7-11 to end his unsuccessful campaign.
For Commonwealth Games double gold medallist Manika Batra, it came as a real shock as she crashed out of Group D with a below par performance.
The world No. 56 Indian lost both her opening matches against players who have never defeated her before. Manika first lost against Iran’s No. 2 player Ashtari Mahshid 12-10, 11-5, 5-11, 8-11, 6-11 before going down to Singapore’s Ye Lin 7-11, 13-15, 8-11.
She then overcame Maha Faramarzi of Qatar 11-3, 11-6, 11-2 to finish third ahead of the Qatari.