Thailand Open 2019: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty reach men’s doubles final
India’s top-ranked men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty defeated former world champions Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol of South Korea in three games in the Thailand Open 2019 semi-final to reach their maiden final at a World Tour Super 500 tournament on Saturday.Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, ranked 16 on the men’s doubles charts, defeated the lower-ranked South Korean pair 22-20, 22-24, 21-9 after a dominant performance in the deciding game of the men’s doubles semi-final.Satwiksairaj and Chirag worked wonderfully well together throughout the match and never let the pressure ease off on the experienced South Korean pair. The young Indian duo held their nerves to clinch the first game before showcasing a never-say-die attitude in the second.Satwik and Chirag let the South Koreans slip away with a big lead after the mid-game interval of the second game but they did well to save four game points and give themselves a couple of match points.However, Ko Sung and Shin Baek saved the match points and forced a decider by converting their 5th game point.The decider though was an anti-climax to what was shaping up to be a thriller as Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty took a 9-point lead a the mid-game break. They never looked back and won the game 21-9. Satwik was brilliant at the back court and his powerful smashes got the Bangkok crowd going on Saturday.Notably, this is Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty maiden final in a Super 500 tournament or above.advertisementThe Indian duo had earlier won Hyderabad Open Super 100 tournament in 2018 and reached the final of Syed Modi International Super 300 tournament in the same year. The duo has been in fine form ever since the recent Asian leg of the World Tour began in Indonesia Open.Satwiksairaj and Chirag, who are training hard under Indonesia’s Flandy Limpele, will take on world number two pair of Li Jun Hui and Liu Yuchen of China in the big final on Sunday.Notably, Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty are finding form at the right time as consistent appearances in the final stages of major touraments will come in handy in the Olympic qualification period.Satwik had not played for more than 5 months on the tour after suffering a major shoulder injury in December and subsequently aggrevating in the Premier Badminton League. However, the fit-again teenage shuttler is making the right moves in the lead up to Tokyo Olympics.”We aren’t worried about playing long matches. It isn’t exhausting to play deeper in a tournament. We played for an hour in our quarterfinal match (on Friday) but it didn’t feel difficult,” Chirag had told ESPN after Friday’s quarter-final.Indeed, the Indian duo didn’t get bogged down despite the semi-final stretching to more than an hour on Saturday.