French Open: Satwik-Chirag Settle for Silver After Final Loss to World No.1
French Open 2019: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty lost 18-21, 16-21 to world No.1 Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo-Marcus Fernaldi Gideon in the final.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (R) and Chirag Shetty grabbed a silver medal at French Open. (Photo Credit: @BAI_Media)
New Delhi: India's top men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty failed to clear the final hurdle at French Open and settled for silver after a 18-21, 16-21 loss to world No.1 pair Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo and Marcus Fernaldi Gideon in Paris on Sunday.
Satwik-Chirag were not as sharp as they have been all through the tournament and looked a but nervous during the final while the world No.1s were simply stunning and looked in no real trouble at any given point in the match.
However, it was still a brilliant tournament for Satwik and Chirag, who beat the world No.2 and world No.6 pairs en route to the final. Satwik-Chirag, who are currently ranked 11th in the world, are expected to rise up well in the rankings after reaching the final and raking up wins against two higher-ranked pairs.
Gideon and Sukamuljo began the match brilliantly executing a perfect flat game while a nervous-looking Chirag leaked too many errors to let the Indonesians get a 8-2 lead.
However, the Indians settled into the match gradually and especially Satwik began to play well as the Indians came back in the contest. Chirag took control from the net while Satwik started firing with his steep smashes and cross court clears as the Indian reduced the deficit to 8-10. However, Sukamuljo produced an exemplary exchange at the net with Satwik as the Indonesians went into the break with an 11-8 lead.
The Indonesians became assertive once more after the break and went into a 16-12 lead before the Indians started firing again.
Chirag first smashed a flick serve from the Indonesians and then executed a triple-smash from the front court to make it 15-16. Chirag and Satwik were looking to play into the centre as much as possible to cut down the angles for Sukamuljo to work with and that was working pretty well for them.
The Indians drew level at 17-17 after a backhand defensive cross from Chirag aimed at Gideon was returned wide.
But soon three game points arrived for the Indians courtesy a heart play from Gideon. He fell on the floor while saving a shuttle and Satwik played a clear directed towards him in reply. But Gideon was immediately up again to return after which Satwik smashed wide.
The Indians saved one game point but Sukamuljo smashed right into Chirag's body to take the first game 21-18.
The second game began in a similar manner with the world No.1s racing off to a 6-2 lead. But the Indians fought their way back and drew level at 6-6 courtesy a brilliant challenge from Satwik when the line judge called a Gideon clear in.
The pairs exchanged a couple of points from there Satwik's errors gave the Indonesians an 11-10 lead at the break.
Trailing 11-12, Satwik smashed hard from the back followed by a couple from Chirag from the front court as the Indians took the point.
But Gideon and Sukamuljo never let the initiative slip from thereon as Gideon took full control of the proceedings. The Indians kept fighting for every point but the world No.1s proved to be too good in the end.
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