China Open: Satwik-Chirag Fall in Semi-finals to World No.1 Pair Gideon-Sukamuljo

Satwik-Chirag (Photo Credit: Chirag Shetty Instagram)

Satwik-Chirag (Photo Credit: Chirag Shetty Instagram)

Fuzhou China Open: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty lost 16-21, 20-22 to world No.1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in semi-finals.

New Delhi: The top Indian men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty were unable to break the Minions code as they bowed out of Fuzhou China Open in the semi-final with straight-games loss to world No.1 Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia on Saturday.

Satwik-Chirag bowed out of the tournament with a 16-21, 20-22 loss to the Indonesian pair in 40 minutes, losing their eighth straight encounter against the world No.1 pair.

Satwik and Chirag had lost to them in the French Open final last month in straight games as well and in all their encounters, the Indian pair has taken a game off the Indonesians only once.

Irrespective of the result, Satwik-Chirag are set to climb two places in the BWF men's doubles rankings to reach their career-high of world No.7.

Satwik-Chirag gave a brilliant fight to 'The Minions' but failed to break their code as the world No.1s stayed on course to defending their title. This is Gideon-Sukamuljo's fourth straight Fuzhou China Open and they have never lost in the tournament so far.

The match saw some excellent badminton, brilliant fast-paced flat exchanges, some stunning defensive skills from both pair but it was the Indonesian pair that came out on top.

The match started well for the Indian pair as they took a 7-4 lead, trying to put as much pressure as possible on Gideon at the back of the court. Chirag, who was the best player at the net in their quarter-final, knew he could not win that battle from Sukamuljo in the semi-final and hence, they look to play far more expansive.

However, the Indonesian pair used all their experience to overturn the deficit and take a 10-7 lead. Then, Satwik made a good cross court return forcing Sukamuljo to lean forward to take the shuttle and the Indonesian hit the net. Trailing 8-10, Chirag was involved in a goof flat exchange at the net and then crouched to play into the empty court to grab another point before the Indonesians took an 11-9 lead into the break.

After the break, Sukamuljo's marauding presence forced the Indians into making a lot of mistakes as the world No.1 took a 14-9 lead. However, the Indians did not stop fighting back and in the next rally itself, they defended two extremely powerful smashes to then force an error out of Sukamuljo.

Chirag then took control of the proceedings and smashed his way to reducing the gap to 13-16. However, Sukamuljo did not let up the initiative at the front court at all and Gideon helped him with excellent drives, leading the world No.1s to take the first game 21-16.

Satwik-Chirag began the second game well and led 3-1. Then a stunning 28-shot rally ensued that saw the Indonesians dish out some spectacular defensive skills to eventually win the point and make it 2-3.

It stayed neck-and-neck from there before the Indians took an 8-6 lead with Chirag once more making his presence felt at the front court. At 8-8, Satwik took the matter in his hands and played a superb smash from the front court in one rally and a crouching defensive shot in the next to take a 10-8 lead. However, the Indonesians took back the control and with a smash at Chirag's body, they led 11-10 at the break.

Right after the break, Chirag and Satwik came out with incessant smashing at the Indonesians to level the proceedings at 11-11. Once more it stayed close from there with both pairs exchanging points with some delightful all-court play.

The Indians then took an 18-16 lead after Satwik executed a beautiful cross-court drop in one rally and a fabulous half smash in the other. But the Indonesians soon level the proceedings to eventually bring up a match point at 20-19.

Satwik then showed bravery as he made a good leave with Sukamuljo sending the shuttle just wide to make it 20-20. However, the Sukamuljo show came to the fore once more as the Indonesians took the match.

Having another match point at 21-20, Sukamuljo played a stunning tumbling net shot that Chirag somehow picked up hassling. Gideon then smashed the shuttle behind Chirag that the Indian just about picked. Sukamuljo then steep-smashed from the net and all Satwik could do was just try and flick his racquet in the direction as the world No.1 reached another final.