Korea Open 2023: Satwik-Chirag through to semifinals, defeats Hoki-Kobayashi in straight games
Satwik-Chirag, the lone Indians remaining in the Korea Open, will face Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang of China in the semifinals on Saturday.
India's top men's doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty advanced to the semifinals of the Korea Open Super 500, registering a thumping straight-game (21-14, 21-17) win over the Japanese pair of Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi at the Jinnam Stadium in Yeosu, South Korea, on Friday.
The Indian combination - ranked third in the BWF world rankings - took the lead in the match, claiming the first game 21-14, with Rankireddy, the holder of the new smash record, rattling Hoki-Kobayashi pair with a flat 500 km/h smash from the baseline.
In the second game, too, the Indians remained supreme and controlled the net with sublime shots on their way to take an 11-9 lead at the interval. However, the Hoki and Kobayashi combo fought back to level the parity at 16-16 with the Indians letting a shot drop in their court due to a lack of communication.
Yet, the Indians dominated the game, with Shetty snatching a point from a rapid net push before extending the lead with a smash. The pair would eventually finish off the proceeding 21-17, with Shetty sending a down-the-line half-smash to secure their first last-four place in the Korea Open.
The Indians needed 40 minutes to wrap up the match.
It was, meanwhile, Satwik-Chirag's fourth and third consecutive win over the world no. 5 Japanese duo. The Indian pair defeated Hoki and Kobayashi at the World Championships and French Open in 2022.
Satwik-Chirag, the lone Indians remaining in the tournament, will face Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang of China in the semifinals. Wei Keng and Chang defeated the Korean duo of Kim Young Hyuk and Wang Chan 21-11, 21-10.