Dabang Smashers’ captain and India’s highest ranked paddler in the ITTF world rankings, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, booked his spot in the ITTF Men’s World Cup, Chengdu that will commence on the 25th of October 2019.
The world no. 28 played in his first ever Asian Cup this year and made his way to the quarter-finals of the tournament by beating Kirill Gerassimenko of Kazakhstan in the round of 16.
Earlier, in the group stage, Sathiyan faced Warrior TTC’s Chuang Chih-Yuan from Chinese Taipei and in a repeat from their match in the UTT season 2, emerged victorious over the experienced paddler. In the quarter-finals, Sathiyan came up against Ma long, the Olympic Gold medallist from China, but had to settle for a loss. That did not deter him though, as he picked himself up, dusted himself down, and went on to beat Wong Chun Ting in the 5-8 positions play-off, again, a repeat of his performance against the world no. 14 from Hong Kong that we saw in season 1 of the UTT.
By beating Ting, Sathiyan was assured of at least the 6th place finish, confirming his place in the World Cup to be held later this year in Chengdu. Though he could not finish 5th, falling to 17-year old Lin Yun-Ju of Chinese Taipei in straight games, the Indian paddler will be proud of finishing the tournament in sixth place, with only Olympic Gold medallists and higher-ranked opponents featuring above him.
As Sathiyan moves from strength to strength, he is also inching closer to his year-end target of breaking into the top-15 in the world, and that dream does not seem too far away. Be sure to catch him ply his trade in the UTT Season 3 before he heads off to the World Cup!