Indian table tennis player Sathiyan Gnanasekaran crashed out of the men’s singles event at the Tokyo Olympics, losing 3-4 to Hong Kong’s Lam Siu Hang, ranked 95th in the world, in a second-round match at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Sunday.
Sathiyan, the world No. 26, took three of the first four sets before losing the next three to crash out 7-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5, 9-11, 10-12 and 6-11 to Hang. The match lasted an hour and three minutes.
Sathiyan, who received a bye in the first round, had defeated Hang twice before — 4-0 at the 2017 India Open and 4-1 at the Spanish Open later in the year.
Hang won the first game 11-7. But Sathiyan managed to make a comeback, leading 4-1 in the second game. He eventually won the game 11-7 and levelled the match 1-1.
Sathiyan continued the comeback charge by winning the third and fourth games 11-4 and 11-5 respectively. The 28-year-old took a 3-1 lead in the match and was just one game away from progressing to the third round.
But Hang came back strongly in the fifth game, winning it 11-9 and giving the match a twist. Hang relied on forehand and backhand smashes to race to 7-3 in the sixth game. Sathiyan came back to save two match points. But Hang was able to stop Sathiyan’s charge, taking the sixth game 12-10.
In the decider set, the Hong Kong paddler was leading 4-2. Sathiyan tried bridging the gap but Hang matched ahead to take the final set 11-6 and complete a come-from-behind win.
Hang will now face local favourite and world No. 3, Tomokazu Harimoto, in the third round.