India men stun Germany at ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships

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The Indian men’s table tennis team caused a major upset after beating second seeds Germany 3-1 in their Group 2 tie at the ITTF World Team Championships Finals 2022 in Chengdu, China on Sunday.

India, unseeded in the competition, were led by Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, who pulled off two wins over higher-ranked players in the tie.

World No. 37 G Sathiyan, a Commonwealth Games 2022 bronze-medallist, came back from being two games down to beat Benedikt Duda, ranked one spot above him, 3-2 (11-13, 4-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-9) and gave the Indian table tennis team a 1-0 lead.

However, Germany came back into the tie in the next match as world No.9 Qiu Dang beat recently-crowned National Games champion Harmeet Desai 3-1 (7-11, 9-11, 13-11, 3-11).

World No.142 Manav Thakkar then rose to the occasion for India, upsetting Ricardo Walther, who sits 68 spots above him, 3-1 (13-11, 6-11, 11-8, 12-10).

The in-form G Sathiyan then beat Qiu Dang 3-2 (10-12, 7-11, 11-8, 11-8, 11-9) to win India the match in thrilling fashion. Like in his first match, G Sathiyan was 2-0 down in the rubber at one point.

The final game was an end-to-end affair as G Sathiyan and Dang constantly traded points, neither giving the other an inch. The Indian won the final two points under pressure to secure the tie for his team.

The Indian men now sit second in Group 2 with four points. They will next face Kazakhstan on Monday.

Meanwhile, the women’s team won its first tie of the tournament after a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic.

World No. 44 Manika Batra won the first match 3-1 (11-6, 11-6, 10-12, 11-8) over Hana Matelova.

National champion Sreeja Akula then gave India a two-match lead with a 3-0 (11-5, 11-3, 11-8) win over Marketa Sevcikova.

Teenager Diya Chitale secured the full two points for the team with a 3-1 (11-13, 15-13, 12-10, 14-12) win over Katerina Tomanovska.

The women’s team now sits second in Group 5 and will face Egypt next. India need to finish in the top two in their group to progress to the round of 16.

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