Badminton: Satwik and Chirag enter Indonesia Open men's doubles final; Prannoy exits in semis
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty ranked sixth in the world previously defeated top-seeded Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto in the quarterfinals.
JAKARTA: Indian men's doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty overcame a game deficit to beat Min Hyuk Kang and Seung Jae Seo of Korea in a tough battle to enter the final of the Indonesia Open World Tour Super 1000 event on Saturday.
The seventh-seeded Indian duo had to fight it out for one hour and seven minutes to defeat the unseeded Korean pair 17-21, 21-19 and 21-18 in the semifinal.
With the win, the Indians now enjoy a 3-2 head-to-head record over Kang and Seo.
Satwik and Chirag ranked sixth in the world, will face the winner of the other semifinal between Indonesia's Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan and second seeds Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh of Malaysia in their maiden World Tour Super 1000 final.
The match started on an even kneel before the Korean pair surged ahead to 6-3.
Once they conceded the lead, Satwik and Chirag were forced to play catch-up badminton for the rest of the first game.
The Indians used their aggressive play to reduce the margin to 15-19 and then 17-20 before Kang and Seo kept their composure to pocket the first game, courtesy of an unforced error.
Trailing, the reigning Commonwealth Games champions, looked more purposeful after the change of ends and took an early 6-3 lead before racing to 11-4 with a flurry of fast-paced shots and body smashes in the second game.
Satwik and Chirag were also helped by some bad line calls and unforced errors from the Koreans. But Kang and Seo didn't give up and clawed their way back into the game to reduce the gap to 18-15.
But the Indians managed to hold on to their nerves and played sensibly to pocket the second game and level the scores.
The decider went neck and neck till the first five points before Satwik and Chirag pocketed seven straight points to race to a 12-5 lead.
The Koreans tried hard to bounce back and at one time levelled the scores at 16-16 but Satwik and Chirag put their foot on the accelerator and relied on their aggressive play to keep their nose ahead and finally closed out the game and the match.
Prannoy falls short
However, Prannoy H. S failed to rise to the occasion against top seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, going down 15-21 and 15-21 in straight games.
Prannoy played the catch-up game from the onset and was never really in for a fight.
He showed sparks of brilliance in between, riding on his cross-court smashes but Axelsen's drop shots and court coverage was good enough to help him take a decisive lead in both games.
The script unfolded in the same manner in both games as Axelsen continued to maintain his upper hand and pocket the game and match in an identical manner.
It was Prannoy's sixth loss against the Dane in the international circuit with having just two wins.