Tokyo July 25: Ace India paddler Sathiyan Gnanasekaran's journey in the men's singles table tennis in Tokyo Olympics came to a disappointing end after getting defeated by Hong Kong's Lam Sui Hang in round two on Sunday (July 25) at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym.
Sathiyan - who was playing in his maiden match on his Olympic debut - lost to a lower-ranked paddler from Hong Kong 4-3. Lam - who is ranked 95th - came back strongly after the higher-ranked Indian paddler (37th) won three games back-to-back. The Hong Kong paddler showed experience to gather himself up and won the match 11-7 7-11 11-4 5-11 11-9 12-10 11-6.
In a contest that lasted 1:03 hours, Sathiyan was looking in his elements after getting off to a rusty start but the Indian let the advantage slip away from his hands and bowed out.
Sathiyan won three consecutively with a dominant show as he finished them 11-4, 11-7 and 11-5 and needed to win one more game to qualify into the next round. The Chennai-based paddler, however, lost his rhythm and couldn't dominate his opponent later.
In the sixth game, Sathiyan didn't have a bright start but came back strongly in the last moments to take it to deuce but the Hong Kong paddler bagged two match points to beat the Indian level 3-3 and forced the match to enter the seventh and deciding game.
In the final round, Sathiyan didn't have dominating start while his opponent kept picking up points and he even made the Indian commit some unforced errors under pressure and finally closed the seventh and final game in just nine minutes to win it.
India will now pin hopes with senior table tennis player Sharath Kamal, competing in his fourth Olympics - in the men's singles event. Sharath didn't have a promising start in the mixed doubles campaign as he and his partner Manika Batra were defeated in their opening game.
Earlier on Saturday, India's female paddlers Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukerjee made winning starts and entered round two.