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'Happy to start year on a high note'- Satwik/Chirag hopes to continue momentum

Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty went through to the second round of the India Open after a hard-fought 78-minute match.

Satwik Reddy and Chirag Shetty

Satwik Reddy and Chirag Shetty in action against Fang Chih Lee and Fang Jen Lee of Chinese Taipei during  India Open (Source: BAI)


Deepanshu Jain

Updated: 18 Jan 2024 7:47 AM GMT

New Delhi: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy & Chirag Shetty once again shone on an otherwise disappointing day for the country's top shuttlers at the India Open Super 750 tournament at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall here on Wednesday.

Satwik and Chirag took the hard-fought three-game (21-15, 19-21,21-16) win against Chinese Taipei young and rising pair of twin brothers Fang-Chih Lee and Fang-Jen Lee.

The Indian pair came to the tournament after an excellent run at the Malaysia Open S1000 event last week, where they reached the final and fell just short of the title in the final.

Chirag summarizing his run at the Malaysia Open said, "We were aiming to start the year on a high note and we did that at the Malaysia Open by reaching the final after five tough matches, though it was a little disappointing to lose the final but overall it was a very good way to start a new calendar year. Now, we are here at the India Open for the consecutive tournament in two weeks that too after playing quite a challenging opponents".

This was their second meeting with this pair after the Swiss Open 2023, which was also a neck-wrecking match as it was also a three-game match where the deciding game was as close as anything and it took a while to decide the winner in a game which goes way beyond deuce and the Indians came on top after 28-26 final score.

The first game here at India Open started with a few errors from the Indian pair but they later came into the rhythm and attained a constant lead till the end of the game and finished this game at 21-15.

"We don't get much time to get used to the conditions here, we don't do any practice at the main hall as well, this was our first time at this court so it took little time to adjust but overall it was a good game in the end," Chirag gave his review on the first game.

The second game was much more entertaining as the Taipei pair got an early big lead of 12-7 which the Indian pair clawed their way back to 13-13 after frequent errors from the opponents but then again the Taipei pair took a big lead of 19-14 which the Indian pair recovers again to 18-19 after regular attacking play but could not close the game and drops it 19-21 after Satwik hits two returns to the net.

"We have to work on this thing of giving the big lead in the second game and then trying to retrieve that throughout. This all started last week in the Malaysia Open where in almost every game we were trailing behind in the second game and made a comeback, in the semis also we won from such a position where we were 14-20 down. We need to stop this pattern in upcoming matches and will try to close it in two games only." Satwik pointed out on their second-game hiatus.

The Indian pair then quickly closed down the match in the third game with 21-16 and booked the place for the next round "We are very happy with the way we are playing, we were very excited for the India Open as last time we suffered first-round exit because of my injury concerns but this time making into the next round under such an amazing crowd is a very good feeling" Satwik reflects on his win.

"We are very happy with the win and make it to the next round, we have to keep grinding game by game as the Olympics is still 6-7 months so we can't just think of that while playing though it's still there in the back of the mind. We will try to play the same way in the coming rounds and will try to make it to the finals and then we can take a rest for the next two to three weeks" Chirag's closing words from the mixed zone.

In the second round, The world no.2 pair will face another tough Chinese Taipei pair of Yang Po Han and Lu Ching Yao on Thursday. The Indians suffered a loss in their last meeting against this pair in a tight three-game match at the Japan Masters 2023. So, they will try to bounce back here at the India Open.

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