Imposing, India’s Sathiyan Gnanasekaran was very much a player in form at the 2021 ITTF Czech International Open in Olomouc on Tuesday 24th August; he booked his place in the men’s singles semi-finals in imperious fashion.
The top seed, he accounted for Russia’s Sadi Ismailov, the no.11 seed (11-9, 11-9, 11-8, 11-2), prior to overcoming Saudi Arabia’s in form Ali Alkhadrawi, the no.12 seed (11-9, 11-2, 11-9, 11-8); one round earlier Ali Alkhadrawi had ousted Manav Vikash Thakkar, the no.6 seed and like Sathiyan Gnanasekaran from India (9-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-5).
Sathiyan Gnanasekaran in fine form
Success for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, for colleague Snehit Suravajjula, who the previous day had caused a major upset by beating England’s Sam Walker, the no.2 seed (5-11, 3-11, 11-4, 12-10, 11-4, 11-8), it was the end of the road. In the second round, he was beaten by Frenchman, Leo de Nodrest (11-7, 11-8, 11-4, 3-11, 7-11, 11-5).
Alas for Leo de Nodrest the euphoria was short lived; one round later he lost to Austria’s Andreas Levenko, the no.7 seed (11-9, 10-12, 11-8, 12-10, 11-9).
At the semi-final stage Sathiyan Gnanasekaran meets Sweden’s Truls Moregard, the no.3 seed, in the opposite half of the draw Ukraine’s Yevhen Pryshchepa, the no.4 seed, opposes Austria’s Andreas Levenko.
Progress to the penultimate round for Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, for compatriot Archana Girish Kamath, in the women’s singles event, she fell one step short.
A quarter-final exit for Archana Girish Kamath
Required to qualify, after causing a major upset by beating Chile’s Paulina Vega, the no.2 seed (12-10, 11-13, 11-5, 11-7, 10-12, 11-7), she experienced defeat when facing Russia’s Mariia Tailakova, the no.8 seed (8-11, 11-4, 13-11, 14-12, 9-11, 12-10).
In the penultimate round, Mariia Tailakova opposes Sweden’s Linda Bergström, the no.3 seed; Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin, the top seed, meets Audrey Zarif of France, the no.9 seed.
Journey’s end, it is the same in the men’s doubles; progress came to an end for Sanil Shetty and Manav Vikash Thakkar, as it did for Jeet Chandra and Snehit Suravajjula.
Sanil Shetty and Manav Vikash Thakkar experienced a quarter-final defeat when opposing the French pairing of Vincent Picard and Bastien Rembert (11-9, 11-6, 12-10). However, for Vincent Picard and Bastien Rembert there was no place in the final, in the penultimate round they were beaten by colleagues Lilian Bardet and Leo de Nodrest (11-7, 7-11, 11-6, 11-6)
Meanwhile, after accounting for Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Bu Shulaybi and Ali Alkhadrawi (11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-5), Jeet Chandra and Snehit Suravajjula suffered a semi-final reverse at the hands of the combination formed by England’s Sam Walker and Sweden’s Truls Moregard (8-11, 15-13, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4).
Sam Walker and Sweden’s Truls Moregard face Lilian Bardet and Leo de Nodrest to determine the title.
Finalists known; in the mixed doubles, the winners were determined; for India quarter-final exits, both pairs losing to the eventual finalists.
Manav Vikash Thakkar and Archana Girish Kamath lost to Ukraine’s Anton Limonov and Solomiya Brateyko (11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-13, 11-9); Sanil Shetty and Reeth Tennison experienced defeat at the hands of Aleksandr Khanin and Daria Trigolos of Belarus (3-11, 14-12, 15-13, 7-11, 11-8).
At the final hurdle Aleksandr Khanin and Daria Trigolos beat Anton Limonov and Solomiya Bateyko in straight games (11-5, 11-7, 13-11).
Play concludes in Olomouc on Wednesday 25th August.
Editor: Ian Marshall