26 Nov 2017

Winner just over one year ago on the ITTF World Tour when he succeeded in Belgium, India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran added to his list of prestigious titles in the Mediterranean coastal resort of Almeria, as afternoon turned to evening on Sunday 26th November.

The no.9 seed, he beat Japan’s Kazuhiro Yoshimura, the no.11 seed in the final of the Men’s Singles event at the 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open; in a contest that ebbed and flowed Sathiyan Gnanasekaran prevailed in six games.

by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor

Kazuhiro Yoshimura was arguably the more powerful player but it was the control exerted by the 24 year old Indian that won the day.

Leading by two games to one, in the fourth game Sathiyan Gnanasekaran moved into a 4-2 lead; however, he was not able to capitalise on the advantage, Kazuhiro Yoshimura won the next four points. It was a lead he never surrendered.

Parity, immediately, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran responded, he established a one point lead at 7-6. It was a critical juncture in the match; thinking clearly he called “Time Out”. He moved ahead 9-7 but then lost the next three points. The match was in the balance, Kazuhiro Yoshimura had opportunities to assert a one game lead. At 11-10 he had one further opportunity to seal the game before Sathiyan Ganasekaran won the next three points to secure the game.

Win a close game and confidence blossoms, Sathiyan Gnanasekaran endorsed the adage; in the sixth game he went ahead 5-2, Kazuhiro Yoshimura called “Time Out” but he had left the decision one point too late. The gap was too great, Sathiyan Gnanasekaren was now in control.

India celebrated and so did an Italian at the 2017 ITTF World Junior Championships in Riva del Garda; present in his native country, nowadays the Indian national coach, the phone of Massimo Costantini buzzed: “Sathiyan won”.

It is the second ITTF Challenge Series title won by an Indian player this year; Soumyajit Ghosh won in Chile beating colleague Amalraj Anthony in the final.

Challenge Series 2017 Spanish Open Sathiyan Gnanasekaran Kazuhiro Yoshimura

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Day 2 - 2017 ITTF Challenge Spanish Open