Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty win Swiss Open doubles title

Swiss Open doubles title

NEW DELHI, March 26: The World Championships bronze medallist doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Sunday won the Swiss Open title, beating China’s Ren Xiang Yu and Tan Qiang in straight games in the summit clash of the Super 300 badminton tournament in Basel.
The second-seeded Indian pair capped off their impressive campaign by registering a 21-19, 24-22 win against the World No.21 Chinese pair in a contest which lasted 54 minutes. Satwik and Chirag played an attacking game while remaining solid in defence.
It was the first title of the season for India with Satwik and Chirag putting to rest the disappointment of last week’s All England Championships where they had exited in the second round.
Overall, it was the fifth career world tour title for the Indian pair, who had claimed the India Open and French Open last year, besides securing the Thailand Open in 2019 and Hyderabad Open in 2018.
Satwik and Chirag had also won the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold.
The title run also meant India continued its love affair with the Swiss Open, with PV Sindhu (2022), Saina Nehwal (2011, 2012), Kidambi Srikanth (2015) and HS Prannoy (2016) claiming the crown in the past.
The two pairs had a contrasting march to the final with Satwik and Chirag playing three three-game matches on their way to the summit clash, while Tan and Ren didn’t drop a game.
Tan had forged a world No. 10 pairing with He Jiting in 2019, winning the 2021 World Championships silver medal, while Ren had been ranked as high as 16 with his former partner Ou Xuanyi.
Playing the Chinese pair for the first time, Satwik and Chirag turned up the heat at the right moments, displaying their attacking prowess and steely nerves to come out victorious.
A service error from Chirag was a dampener but India managed to lead 3-1 early on before the Chinese drew parity at 6-6. There was another service error for height from Satwik before the Indians entered the break with a three-point cushion.
The Indians tried to keep the rallies flat and short and it worked, as they led 15-10 and then 18-13.
However, Tan and Ren soon narrowed down the gap to 17-18.
But, a precise smash from Chirag, which bisected the court, gave them two game points. Satwik sailed one long before sealing the game with a winner to take the first advantage.
The second game was an extremely close affair as the rivals fought tooth and nail.
After trailing 2-4 early, Chirag went on the attack from the front court to draw level.
The Chinese pair kept fighting and clawed back at 8-8 with Tan finding a winner at the forecourt with a drop.
Satwik smashed one into the net before the Chinese made a service error to hand a two-point advantage to the Indians at the mid-game interval.
The Indian duo quickly extended the lead to 14-11 with Satwik producing a powerful smash. Tan and Chirag then engaged in a terrific rally but the latter went long as the Chinese kept breathing down the neck of the Indian pair.
With Satwik erring twice, China was back on level par at 16-16. In the end, a straight smash from Chirag earned India two championship points. After another exciting rally, Chirag went long to squander one opportunity.
A lucky net chord helped China draw parity at 20-20 before Tan sent one into the net to give another match point to the Indians.
However, once again, a return bounced from the net as China saved another championship point.
Tan and Ren then grabbed a game point of their own with Chirag erring, but China lost it with a shot going into net.
India soon grabbed their fourth championship point and converted it this time. It was time for Chirag and Satwik to celebrate.
(ToI With inputs from PTI)