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Satwik/Chirag become first ever Indian men doubles pair to win India Open title

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have won the 2022 India Open men's doubles title. This is the second time an Indian pair has won a badminton title of BWF World Tour 500 or higher level.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty India Open

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty at the medal Ceremony of India Open (Source: BAI)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 17 Jan 2022 10:11 AM GMT

India's Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty displayed nerves of steel and even put their more illustrious opponents under pressure with their tactics to clinch the men's doubles title in the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2022, which is part of HSBC BWF World Tour tournament series, at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall on Sunday.

The second seeded Indians saved five game points in the second game before beating top seeds Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan 21-16, 26-24 to win their second Super 500 title.

Aware of their opponent's prowess to play quick points, Chirag and Satwik had a clear game plan of playing longer rallies. That meant they were prepared to play softer net strokes and even lift the shuttle high to force the Indonesians into making mistakes.

But they also prepared to counter the top-seeds game of playing flat rallies in the middle at the start and that allowed them to keep pace with the Indonesians at the start. It was in the 15th point in the opening game that they managed to push the rally longer.

The approach was to tire their senior opponents and Chirag/Satwik were willing to lose points but stick to the plan. It allowed Setiawan and Ahsan to win a few quick points in the opening game and close the gap at 13-13.

But Satwik's big smashes bailed them out and helped them run away with the opening game.

The second game was neck-and-neck through-out as the Indonesians began taking more risks. Even Setiawan tried to go for the big smashes to unsettle the Indians but to their credit, Chirag and Satwik stood strong in defence.

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However, the Indonesians used all their experience overturn a 14-18 deficit to earn their first game point. It was a tense affair from there on as both the combinations were guilty of making errors while looking for quick points.

Setiawan once served in the net while Ahsan fouled while going for a flick serve on game point and the Indians kept on the pressure with some fantastic shot selections. They ultimately wrapped up the match in 43 minutes, having saved five game points to begin the new season with a title triumph.

Speaking about the five game points in the second game, Satwik said, "we knew they were tired and would take risks. So, we kept things tight and it worked."

Chirag, who spent some time practising his net play after Saturday's semi-final, said, "The way we defended today was extremely good. I think the way we handled the pressure and calmed ourselves down in the closing stages of the second game was really good."

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