Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty win fourth title of the year at Korea Open
India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty continued their dream run, clinching the men’s doubles title at the Korea Open with a gritty three-game win over top ranked Fajar Alfian and Muhamad Rian Ardianto in the final here on Sunday. Playing their fourth final of the year, the world No. 3 Indians rallied their way to a 17-21 21-13 21-14 win over the two-time world championships bronze medallists Alfian and Ardianto in a thrilling summit clash of the Super 500 badminton tournament.
Satwik and Chirag, the 2022 Commonwealth Games champions, thus extended their winning streak to 10 matches and added another feather to their cap, following their victory at the Swiss Open, Asian Championships and Indonesia Open this year. The Indian pair had a 2-2 head-to-head count against Asian Games silver medallists Alfian and Ardianto but they had beaten the Indonesians on last two occasions.
The Indians looked a little subdued in the beginning as they lagged behind in the opening game but they recovered in the fag end, narrowing a 10-19 deficit with a six-point burst before falling short. However, they found the momentum in the second game and dominated the proceedings thereafter to come up trumps. The Indonesians played flat rallies at a high pace to open up a 4-2 lead early on. The Indians were pegged back as Alfian and Ardianto didn’t allow their opponents to mount their attack.
Errors also crept in as Satwik and Chirag conceded a seven-point advantage to their rivals at the break. The Indians won a few quick points but the Indonesians managed to move away to 16-7 after Ardianto smashed one down the middle. Another down-the-middle smash from Ardianto took the Indonesians to 19-11. Satwik and Chirag won next three points before playing an exciting rally which ended with the Indonesians going to the net. A booming jump smash from Satwik further cut down the deficit to three points but he sent one wide to hand four game points to the Indonesians. The Indians saved one with Chirag’s cross court return before Satwik sprayed one to the net.
The second game started on an even keel with the two pairs engaging in some delectable rallies. The Indians infused more power and pace into their game as they started to dominate the rallies. The Indians opened up a slender 6-4 lead after a Chirag interception and maintained it till 10-8, with Satwik unleashing his trademark smash. The Indian duo had a cushion of three points at the break when the Indonesians went wide. A cross court return from the front court from Chirag took them to 17-11.
Soon Satwik and Chirag grabbed nine game points. They squandered two before Chirag sent one down the middle to take the match to the decider. Satwik and Chirag looked in control in the third game, eking out a 9-6 lead before going into the interval at 11-8. The Indians were more aggressive and managed to keep the world number 1 pair under the pump.
After resumption, a Chirag interception helped the Indians keep the three-point lead at 13-10. Alfian and Ardianto looked a pale shadow as nothing was going their way. Satwik and Chirag also dominated the flat exchanges and soon it was 18-12 for the Indians. Alfian produced a superb backhand return but sprayed the next one to the net to hand over seven match points to the Indians. They wasted one before converting the next, and broke into a gangnam style dance to celebrate their victory.
Since pairing up, Satwik and Chirag have won multiple titles, including Commonwealth Games gold, Thomas Cup gold, bronze medal in World Championships and wins in Super 300 (Syed Modi and Swiss Open), Super 500 (Thailand and India Open), Super 750 (French Open) and Indonesia Open Super 1000.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
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