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Thomas Cup: China's secret ingredient that hoodwinked Satwik-Chirag

China's doubles pair reveal just how they got past Satwik-Chirag en-route to dethroning India.

Thomas Cup: Chinas secret ingredient that hoodwinked Satwik-Chirag

Satwik-Chirag faced a must-win situation to keep India in the hunt against China (File photo: AP) 


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 3 May 2024 11:47 AM GMT

As India began their Thomas Cup title-defense at Chengdu, China, expectations were at an all-time high.

The group of players were the same and with all of them in reasonably good form, a successful campaign was on the cards. India's opponents, however, we ready and waiting to ambush the defending champions.

Fewer errors

For India, the outcome of Satwik-Chirag's matches was beyond crucial in the quarter-final. If the duo could post a win, the balance of the tie would swing in India's favour.

China, however, had a trick up their sleeve in Wang Chang and Liang Wei Keng.

"They are a very difficult pair to beat. We had to challenge them on every point. Fu Haifeng told us that the start of every game was going to be crucial, so we were focused on that,” added Liang Wei Keng.

However, the Indian pair was more error-prone and that's where the game swung in the favour of the Chinese pair.

Inability to scale up

Both Satwik and Chirag knew what was in store for them - longer rallies and an aggressive style of play.

“Whenever we played longer rallies, we were scoring points. It was a service-receive game, it was about dominating the first three strokes. If you want to beat them, you have to play at a much higher level than what we did today,” said Chirag Shetty.

That said, despite clawing back to level the match, they were overpowered in the third and in doing so, lost their second successive match to bow out disappointingly.

Meanwhile, Lakshya Sen was the lone bright spark in the quarter-final.

“When I was in there, I didn’t think about the situation we were in. I was just trying to take it to another game, and another match. We’ve been playing each other since our junior days. The conditions today were a bit tricky; the home crowd was pumped up,” said Lakshya Sen.

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