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Asian Youth Games: Abhishek bows out with bronze

Nanjing, Aug 19 : Paddler Abhishek Yadav fought valiantly against world No. 1 and top-seeded Chinese Zhendong Fan before bowing out 2-4 (4-11, 13-11, 13-11, 4-11, 8-11, 7-11) in the semi-final of men's singles table tennis event at the second Asian Youth Games here Monday night.


But with no play-offs, the Indian ensured himself a bronze medal on his maiden appearance at the Games.

Incidentally, he booked his place in the Youth Olympics Games to be held here next year as the top eight players make it to the Games automatically.

Yadav, despite losing the first game, came back strongly in the second and third to lead 2-1. But in the fifth game, Yadav ran the top-seed Chinese close with his courageous forehand and backhand topspin as he reduced the margin from 4-9 to 8-9 when the Chinese took timeout. What a nice strategy it turned out to be as the world junior champion never looked back after that.

The Indian, despite losing the semi-final, was lauded by the appreciating crowd for giving a hard time to the home boy. "I am happy with my overall performance. But the Chinese was too good a player," said Yadav, giving full credit to his rival.

"We are happy that Abhishek gave a good fight before going down to the junior world champion," said team manager Jayesh Acharya. "Even out girl Suthirtha Mukherjee did well up to the pre-quarters. We will return home tomorrow with something to show from our boy," he remarked.

In the morning, Yadav played a marathon fifth game to defeat Malaysia's Dunley Foo in the quarterfinals, which practically ensured the Indian at least a bronze medal at the ongoing second Asian Youth Games here this morning.

The Indian disposed of Foo 4-1 (11-6, 11-5, 15-13, 5-11, 18-16) in 41 minutes, which included two games that stretched every sinew of the left-handed Yadav and tested his patience to no end. Yadav had the measure of his rival in the first two games, but in the third from 9-7 allowed the Malaysian come back but the Indian teenager put up a grat
fight to take the game at 15-13, the battle lasting full 10 minutes.

Though the Malaysian took the fourth game to keep his chances alive, the Indian, leading 6-4, allowed Foo some leeway and he surged ahead to 10-8. But Yadav managed to keep his opponent on check to level the score at 16-16. At this point, Yadav held his serve and returned well to go up 17-16 before cashing in on Foo's mistake to break his service to take the game and match in 12 minutes.

--IBNS (Posted on 19-08-2013)

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