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From 'lowest low' to 'highest high': Stunning triumph for Satwik/Chirag

After enduring an early exit in Singapore Open, the pair of Satwik/Chirag turned it around to win Indonesia Open 2023.

From lowest low to highest high: Stunning triumph for Satwik/Chirag

Satwik Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty as Indonesia Open 2023. (source: BAI Media)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 18 Jun 2023 4:29 PM GMT

India's Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Sunday said they were delighted that the historic title triumph at the Indonesia Open came against their nemesis, Malaysian world champions Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.

Before their men's doubles final, the Indian pair had a record of 0-8 against the Malaysian duo. In the summit clash that lasted for 43 minutes, the Indians prevailed 21-17, 21-18.

The world No. 6 pair of Rankireddy and Shetty finally managed to not only end their losing streak but also put an end to their disappointing recent run.

Having experienced their “lowest low” in crashing out of the first round of last week’s Singapore Open, Rankireddy and Shetty couldn’t have executed a more stunning turnaround, winning their first Super 1000 title, an unprecedented achievement for Indian doubles.

Satwiksairaj told the media after their win, "More than winning the tournament, beating them is one of the highs. When we play (them) next time, we will play all-in again."

Chirag echoed his partner's sentiments and said, "More than winning the tournament, beating Aaron and Soo was what we truly wanted to do because we have come close to beating them but we have sort of held ourselves back a bit.

"But this time we reached up to the plan and it paid huge dividends. But as Satwik said, this is just the start, we have to win even bigger tournaments," he said.

While clarifying that the presence of Pullela Gopichand was not restricted to their final as he was there for the team, Satwiksairaj said his attending the game had a huge impact.

"(We are) very happy with this performance after a bad past two months. We had become lazy and passive with thoughts like 'it is under control', but it is not. The last two tournaments were wake-up calls for us, 'be alert otherwise we would be smashed in the first round only'," said Satwiksairaj.

"We practiced hard with the coaches, physios, and trainers. I have an injury-prone body but I would say (credit) the efforts (put) behind the team. Even Gopi sir came after a long time for our matches, I felt like he is a magician on the court. I feel so positive when he is there," he added.

For Chirag, the reason behind the Indian pair's triumph had more to do with them executing their plans well and playing the game the way they liked.

"Not holding ourselves back while receiving. We have always served well against them and they have had a service and receiving is quite good," said Chirag when asked about what their plans were.

"We knew we had to be upfront and be a little slow on that. We knew that rallies would be short against them — we did not want to do that. If the shuttle was low, instead of playing in between, we were lifting and defending because we knew we have a strong defense as well now," Chirag added.

Satwiksairaj said it was important for the Indian pair to not keep their record against the Malaysian duo in their minds during the final.

"We are the winners here, but we again have a tournament next week, for which we go back and reset. But still, happy with the way we played and I felt like it was a new day. I felt like you are playing a new opponent, it is not like I was looking head-to-head, we were down 8-0 but I was not thinking much," he said.

"I thought it was the final, the pressure is the same on both the teams and whoever plays well will win. I thought we were playing well, we were in control when we got the strike in the first game, that 'it was our day, don't panic' just enjoy the final and see what happens," Satwiksairaj added.

Chirag said he was more pleased after the game because they recorded a convincing victory.

"I would not say it was the best match, but we played with a lot of conviction," he said.

"We stuck to the game plan, the first few points we did not score that well. In the earlier eight matches that we played against them, we sort of held ourselves back but we stuck to the plan and we knew they are humans, they are players, and they will also make mistakes. We stuck to our plans and did not give them any chance to come back," Chirag expressed.

Satwiksairaj said the Indian pair had truly come a long way after focussing on just getting a chance to play at the Indonesian Open to become the first pair from the country to win a Super 1000 event.

"Winning in Indonesia is never easy, a lot of legends play here. It is one of our dream tournaments, from the start it was (about) at least getting an entry, and from there to winning this is a long journey," he said.

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