Indian table tennis star Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, who plays for ASV Grunwettershasch club, won the German Cup (Bundesliga) table tennis championships in Germany on Saturday (4 January 2020). Grunwettershasch won the closely-fought final against defending champions TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen 3-2.
Sathiyan, who is currently ranked 30 by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF), lost both of his singles matches. However, he performed well in the semifinals by winning the opening match against Shang Kun 11-8, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11, 11-9.
— Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (@sathiyantt) January 4, 2020
The Chennai-born paddler was ranked 24 by ITTF soon after and became the first Indian to break into the top 25 rankings ever. Sathiyan then joined the German top-club ASV Grunettershasch in August 2019, and by doing so became only the second Indian table tennis player to sign for a German Club after Sharath Kamal.
Sathiyan has had an extraordinary 2019. He ranked 6th in the Asian Cup. Sathiyan was the lone table tennis player to compete in the ITTF World Cup in November 2019. However, Sathiyan was not able to move to the quarterfinals after a promising start.
Not to forget, Sathiyan was also part of the doubles team which entered the top ten of the ITTF rankings, another landmark achievement of 2019.
With the victory, Sathiyan has begun 2020 on a winning note. A delighted Sathiyan got a chance to speak to the press after the team’s victory. “It was a great team effort. We were the underdogs and [the win] was certainly a big surprise for those assembled in the hall (Ratiopharm Hall) that had 4600 people in attendance,” he said.
“It was great to play such a high level of match. I simply loved the atmosphere,” the 26-year-old ping pong player added.
This is the first time that the German Club has won the trophy.
The victory also increases his morale before the qualification tournament in Gondomar, Portugal between 22 to 26 January.
“I hope to take my good form to the qualifiers, and hope to perform even better,” an optimistic Sathiyan adds.