Teenager Abhishek Yadav ensured India of a bronze medal at the 2nd Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, China, after he got the better of Malaysia's Dunley Foo to enter the men's singles table tennis semi-finals, on Monday.
The Indian dispatched 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.
He will now meet the top-seeded Chinese, Zhendong Fan, in a semi-final later on Monday. The Chinese beat Taipei's Chia-Hung Sun in straight games.
With no play-off, both the losing semi-finalists will be awarded bronze medals. Yadav has also been assured of a place in next year's Youth Olympics.
"I am completely drained out. Two big games, particularly the last one, sapped my energy. But I held my nerve to go past him (Foo)," said Yadav.
Yadav had the measure of his rival in the first two games, but in the third game he allowed the Malaysian to level scores to 9-9 after taking a slender lead.
From here, it was a see-saw battle -- for the first the Malaysian went 12-11 up before Yadav caught up with him to make it 13-13. That was also the end of resistance from Foo as the Indian took the next two points to go 3-0 up.
However, the Malaysian took the fourth to keep himself in the match. Leading 6-4 in the fifth game, Yadav allowed Foo take charge. He surged ahead to 10-8 but Yadav on his serve equalled the score to breathe easy.
At 16-16, things seemed gloomy for the Indian as Foo was not only returning well but was catching his rival on the wrong foot.
Then came the turning point, as Yadav served and returned well to go up 17-16 and waited to cash in on Foo's mistake when he served next to take the game and the match.
Photograph: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM