Sunday, March 7, 2021

Satwiksairaj, Chirag register epic win to lift Thailand Open

Bangkok, August 4: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Sunday became the first Indian pair to win a BWF Super 500 badminton tournament with a hard-fought victory over Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China in the summit clash of Thailand Open here. The unseeded Indian duo prevailed 21-19 18-21 21-18 over the third seeded Chinese pair after battling hard for an hour and two minutes.
It was the first final of the 2019 season for Rankireddy and Shetty, the men’s doubles silver medallist at 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Rankireddy and Shetty got off to a good start as they broke away from 3-3 early on and moved ahead to open up a 10-6 lead, but their Chinese opponents kept breathing down their necks and made it 14-14.
It was a closely fought affair after that and the world No. 16 Indian pair could take a slight edge only at 20-18.
Although the Chinese duo narrowed down the gap further to 19-20, the Indians managed to win the crucial point to wrap up the first game.
In the second game, the Indians managed to take an upper hand as they moved to a 6-2 lead but the Chinese soon bridged the gap to 5-6 before catching up with them at 11-11.
After the interval, the Chinese duo surged ahead to 13-11 but the Indians lifted their game and drew parity at 13 apiece.
The Indians then overtook their opponents to 16-14 and then climbed up to 18-16 before the Chinese pair won five consecutive points to stun the Indians and take the match to the decider.
Rankireddy and Shetty were slow off the blocks in the third game but managed to make it 6-6. From there on, the Indians never looked back and kept their composure to maintain the edge over their rivals till the end.
Even though the Chinese pair fought back and at one stage reduced the gap to 18-19, the Indians looked in no mood to climb down and went on to pocket two consecutive points to seal the match in their favour.
Chou Tien-chen beats Angus Ng Ka Long in a thrilling final to win Thailand Open
Taiwan shuttler Chou Tien-chen clinched the men’s singles title at the Thailand Open badminton tournament on Sunday in a thrilling final against Hong Kong opponent Angus Ng Ka Long.
Both players collapsed after third-seed Chou eked out victory 21-14, 11-21, 23-21 in a 67-minute match at Bangkok’s Indoor Stadium Huamark.
“I love you guys, thank you,” the 29-year-old winner told the crowd in an on-court interview.
Former world champion and hometown favourite Ratchanok Intanon is eyeing her third Thailand Open title later Sunday against Chinese top seed Chen Yufei, who comes into the women’s final having not dropped a game.
In women’s doubles, Japanese seventh seeds Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto fended off Du Yue and Li Yinhui, the eighth seeds from China, in three close games.
Unseeded Indian pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty stunned Chinese third seeds Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen to win the men’s title. (PTI/AFP)