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India Open badminton | Chirag-Satwik fall at the final hurdle, again

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty pose for a photo with medals after losing the men’s doubles final match against World Champions Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae from Korea at Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2024 at IG Stadium, in New Delhi on January 21, 2024
| Photo Credit: ANI

Notwithstanding a sound start, Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj finished second best to Koreans Kang Min Kyuk and Seo Seung Jae in three games and fell short of regaining the India Open title won here in 2022.

After Sunday witnessed four one-sided finals, the men’s doubles title-clash went the distance at the K.D. Jadhav Indoor Hall. If the Koreans pulled off a 15-21, 21-11, 21-18 win in 65 minutes, their calm approach and self-belief held the key.

Cheered by the home crowd, the Indians entered the court holding a 4-1 lead in head-to-head encounters against the Koreans. The confidence of having beaten the Koreans for a third successive time – in the semifinals of the Malaysia Open last Saturday – was evident as Chirag and Satwik were off to a flyer.

In the 18-minute first game, Indians stayed in control. The speedy Koreans kept up until 8-all before the World No. 2 began to assert. Chirag and Satwik switched places, moved swiftly from defence to attack and executed their plan to perfection.

In the second, the left-right combination from Korea led from the start, won nine points in a row to lead 16-5 and before long, the match entered the decider.

Koreans continued their control from 2-3 and never trailed again in the match. Though the Indians battled hard to make it 18-19 and raised visions of a possible win, Kang and Seo were not to be denied.

“The loss of early points in the second game helped the Koreans settle down to play the way they normally do. We couldn’t stop them and soon started thinking about the decider,” said Chirag.

Satwik stated, “If we had kept our cool and drawn level in the second half of the final game, the pressure would have been on them. But they played very cleverly and never took the pressure.”

Earlier, China’s Shi Yuqi regained the men’s singles title won in 2018 and Chinese Taipie’s Tai Tzu Ying claimed her maiden singles crown here.

The results (finals, prefix denotes seeding)

Men’s singles: 6-Shi Yuqi (Chn) bt Lee Cheuk Yiu (Hkg) 23-21, 21-17.

Women’s singles: 4-Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe) bt 2-Chen Yufie (Chn) 21-16, 21-12.

Men’s doubles: 3-Kang Min Kyuk & Seo Seung Jae (Kor) bt 2-Chirag Shetty & Satwaiksairaj Rankireddy 15-21, 21-11, 21-18.

Women’s doubles: 8-Mayu Matsumoto & Wakana Nagahara (Jpn) bt 6-Zhang Shu Xian & Zheng Yu (Chn) 21-12, 21-13.

Mixed doubles: 6-Dechapol Puavaranukroh & Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Thai) bt 5-Jiang Zhengbang & Wei Yaxin (Chn) 21-16, 21-16.

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