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India Open Badminton: Chirag-Satwik upset top seeds to win men's doubles title (Ld)

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS) India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty displayed nerves of steel and even put their more illustrious opponents under pressure with their tactics to clinch the men’s doubles title in the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022, here on Sunday.

It was the second BWF World Tour Super 500 title for the top Indian pair that had won the Thailand Open 2019, beating China’s Li junhui and Liu Yuchen in 21-18, 18-21, 21-19.

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The second-seeded Indians saved five-game points in the second game before beating top seeds Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan 21-16, 26-24 to win their second Super 500 title.

Aware of their opponent’s prowess to play quick points, Chirag and Satwik had a clear game plan of playing longer rallies. That meant they were prepared to play softer net strokes and even lift the shuttle high to force the Indonesians into making mistakes.

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But they also prepared to counter the top-seeds’ game of playing flat rallies in the middle and that allowed them to keep pace with the Indonesians at the start. It was in the 15th point in the opening game that they managed to push the rally longer.

The approach was to tire their senior opponents and Chirag/Satwik were willing to lose points but stick to the plan. It allowed Setiawan and Ahsan to win a few quick points in the opening game and close the gap at 13-13.

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But Satwik’s big smashes bailed them out and helped them run away with the opening game.

The second game was neck-and-neck throughout as the Indonesians began taking more risks. Even Setiawan tried to go for the big smashes to unsettle the Indians but to their credit, Chirag and Satwik stood strong in defence.

However, the Indonesians used all their experience to overturn a 14-18 deficit to earn their first game point. It was a tense affair from there on as both the combinations were guilty of making errors while looking for quick points.

Setiawan once served in the net while Ahsan fouled while going for a flick serve on game point and the Indians kept on the pressure with some fantastic shot selection. They ultimately wrapped up the match in 43 minutes, having saved five game points to begin the new season with a title triumph.

Speaking about the five-game points in the second game, Satwik said, “We knew they were tired and would take risks. So, we kept things tight and it worked.”

Chirag, who spent some time practicing his net play after Saturda”‘s semi-final, said, “The way we defended today was extremely good. I think the way we handled the pressure and calmed ourselves down in the closing stages of the second game was really good.”

Earlier, second seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand had to dig deep before beating compatriot Supanida Katethong 22-20, 19-21, 2′-13 to clinch the women’s singles title.

Thailand’s Benyapa and Nuntakarn Aimsaard defeated Russia’s Anastasiia Akchurina and Olga Morozova 21-13, 21-15 to win the women’s doubles title while Singaporean husband-wife combination of Hee Yong Kai Terry and Tan Wei Han upset Malaysian third seeds Chen Tang Jie and Peck Yen Wei 21-15, 21-18 in the mixed doubles final.

–IANS

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