Thailand Open badminton: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty enter final; to meet Chen Bo Yang and Liu Yi

by darrelmoss20630
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (right) and Chirag Shetty. FIle

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (right) and Chirag Shetty. FIle
| Photo Credit: AAP

India’s premier men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty entered the final of the Thailand Open badminton tournament with an easy straight-game victory over Lu Ming-Che and Tang Kai-Wei of Chinese Taipei in Bangkok on May 18.

Asian Games gold medallist pair of Satwik and Chirag needed just 35 minutes to beat their world No. 80 opponents 21-11 21-12 in the semifinal match of the Super 500 tournament at the Nimibutr Stadium here.

Satwik and Chirag have a deep relation with Thailand as it was here five years back in 2019 that they had won their maiden super 500 crown. On May 18, the Indian pair inched closer to regaining the title after reaching the summit clash again.

The Indian pair thus continued to make waves in the BWF World Tour after progressing to their fourth final of the season. The duo had finished runner-up at Malaysia super 1000 and India super 750 before claiming the French super 750 in March.

In the final on May 19, the world number three Indian duo, the top seeds in this tournament, will be up against the Chinese pair of Chen Bo Yang and Liu Yi, who defeated Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Rang of South Korea 21-19 21-18 in the other semifinal on Saturday.

Satwik and Chirag had some low returns in the last couple of tournaments. The Indian pair lost in the second round at All England Championships and then missed the Asia Championships due to an injury to Satwik. The Thomas Cup campaign was also not too fruitful as they lost a couple of narrow matches to top pairs. The final appearance will thus provide a major boost ahead of the Paris Olympics.

On May 18, Satwik and Chirag were not really tested by Lu and Tang, who played well only in patches but lacked the aggression and accuracy to trouble the Indians, who were a cut above their rivals.

In the opening game, Satwik and Chirag were up 3-0 but the Taiwanese pair managed to make it 5-4 before they started leaking points. Errors crept into their game as they went long a number of times, allowing the Indians to enter the break with an 11-7 lead.

Things didn’t change after resumption as the Indians continued to gather point with their sharp placements. At 17-10, Chirag produced a powerpacked smash as they gained nine game points when the Chinese went out twice.

The second game began on a close note as the two pairs moves 4-4 to 6-6. Satwik also produced an ambitious behind-the-back return only to spray it wide. Leading 9-7 for the first time in the match, Lu and Tang, however, couldn’t sustain the pressure as a fast and long rally ended at the nets for the Chinese.

With Lu and Tang continuing to find the going tough, it was 15-10 in favour of the Indians, who grabbed 8 match points when the Chinese made another soft error at the net.

Chirag then stood at the front court and sealed it with a barrage of fast returns.

In the women’s doubles, the fourth-seeded Indian pair of Tanisha Carsto and Ashwini Ponnappa will face top seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand in the semifinals later on Saturday.

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