Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty’s dream run came to an end as the duo lost to Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo 16-21, 20-22 in the semifinal of the ongoing China Open Super 750 tournament on Saturday. They pushed the World No. 1 badminton pair to their limits, throwing everything at them, but still could not get the better of them.
Heading into the match with a 0-7 head-to-head record against the Indonesians, the odds were stacked up against Satwik and Chirag. In fact, at the French Open final, there first Super 750 final, they had lost to Gideon and Sanjaya and had to settle for silver.
But as the match got underway, it never looked like the Indians were scared of the World No. 1s. They took the first point of the first game and maintained a slender lead till 7-4. However, the Minions showed just why they are considered as the bests in the business, claiming six back-to-back points to make it 7-10 in their favour.
After the breather, their lead only increased as it seemed that Satwik and Chirag were feeling the pressure. Every time they were claiming a point and winning the service, the Indonesians were winning it right back with impeccably precise returns. Soon, within 15 minutes, Gideon and Sanjaya wrapped up the game 21-16.
The second game was an intense affair with every point being contested as if it was a matter of life and death. The Minions were in an attacking mood, which won them the first game, but the Indian duo took the court with a different mindset and tactic in the second. They started counter-attacking and put up a stiff fight and forced their opponents to make more mistakes.
As the score would suggest, there was little to separate the two pairs. This was a much-improved performance by Satwik, 19, and Chirag, 22, from what we saw in Paris a couple of weeks back. Chirag, especially, looked determined to avenge the defeat while Satwik was at his usual retrieving best. But eventually, it was Gideon and Sanjaya who had the last laugh.
Previously, in the quarters the young Indian pair had defeated World No 3 pair Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China in straight games 21-19, 21-15. Before that, they took down World No. 6 pair Yuta Watanabe and Hiroyuki Endo in the pre-quarters.