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Thailand Open: Satwik and Chirag breach the wall of China

A day to remember: Chirag Shetty (left) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy inked their names in bold in Indian badminton history.   | Photo Credit: AFP

India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty scripted a piece of history on Sunday by breaching the ‘Chinese Wall’ of reigning World champions Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen, with a 21-19, 18-21, 21-18 victory in the men’s doubles final of the Thailand Open badminton championship in Bangkok on Sunday.

This is the first-ever Indian men’s combination to win a BWF Super 500 title.

It was a revenge win for the Indians, who had lost to the World champions at the Australian Open early this year.

The Indian pair, ranked World No. 16, capped a week of consistent performances that saw them beat No. 7 Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto, No. 19 Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol and No. 27 Choi Solgyu and Seo Seung Jae.

Satwik in the front-court and Chirag controlling the back-court turned out to be a deadly combination. Satwik’s brilliance included a splendid flick which fetched game-point in the first game. 

See-saw battle 

The second game saw a see-saw battle, but the Chinese won a test of nerves after the scores were tied at 18.

The intensity of the contest in the decider was palpable and the Indian duo kept their cool under pressure and raised their performance after trailing 1-4. 

There was double delight for the Indians as they are poised to break into the World top 10. This is a shot in the arm as they eye a slot in next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

‘We stuck to plan’

“We were steady and did not rush things. We stuck to our plan of keeping the shuttle low and not hurrying through the points. I think that really worked,” Satwik said later. Chirag’s father, Chandrashekhar Shetty, told PTI on the phone that his son’s feat had opened the doors for aspiring shuttlers. “What I can say! Spectacular win,” he added.

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 4:56:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/thailand-open-rankireddy-shetty-become-first-indian-pair-to-win-bwf-super-500-tourney/article28813611.ece

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