CHENNAI: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had found themselves in unfamiliar territory in the first week of June. They had lost in the very first round of the Singapore Open, a BWF World Tour Super 750 event. It was a rare blip for the Indian men’s doubles pair, who have made the habit of challenging for titles in recent times. That setback had certainly rocked both. Chirag, in interaction with BWF, termed it ‘the lowest low’.
Just over a week or so following that tough defeat, they are back in business with a bang. That buzz is back in their play. That fighting quality that has seen them clinch many hard-fought battles during crunch times is back to the fore. In the ongoing Indonesia Open (Jakarta) on Saturday, the Indian doubles duo got past Min Hyuk Kang and Seung Jae Seo of Korea 17-21, 21-19, 21-18 to reach their first-ever Super 1000 final. That’s one of the many milestones that the talented duo have reached.
After conceding the first game, the onus was on the Indians to step up. And they did just that. They were assertive and operated with a lot of energy in front of the net. While Satwik and Chirag seemed to be gaining in confidence, Kang and Seo were making unforced errors, thereby helping Indians keep up the momentum. But they kept themselves interested until the very end before the Indians edged it.
Visibly buoyed, the Indians started off on a strong note and went on to pocket seven consecutive points to take a 12-5 lead. The Koreans seemed down and out but they did manage to close the game and make it a gripping contest. The score read 16-16 at one stage but it was Satwik and Chirag who raised their level to clinch the game and the match.
Prannoy loses to Axelsen
Immediately after Satwik and Chirag’s match, singles specialist HS Prannoy stepped onto the court for his men’s singles semifinal match. Prannoy, however, had a goliath opponent in Viktor Axelsen, the current World No 1. The Dane won in straight games (21-15, 21-15).