Thailand Open: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty Reach Men's Doubles Semi-finals
Thailand Open 2019: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty reached their first semi-final on the BWF World Tour level this year.
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty beat South Korea's Choi Solgyu and Seo Sueng Jae 21-17, 17-21, 21-19. (Photo Credit: @SportsIndia3)
India's top men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty advanced to the semi-final of Thailand Open on Friday with a nervy 21-17, 17-21, 21-19 win over South Korean pair of Choi Solgyu and Seo Sueng Jae.
The world number 17 pair from India showed nerves of steel towards the end to take the match in exactly an hour and reached their first semi-final of 2019 on the BWF World Tour. They won the Brazil International Challenge earlier and reached the semis at Denmark Challenge but this is their first semi-final on the World Tour level.
After upsetting the world No.7 pair of Indonesia's Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Ardianto in the Round of 16 on Thursday, Satwik-Chirag were the favourites in the quarter-finals as they were up against the pair ranked 27 in the world.
It was all about how the youngsters would go on to handle the pressure of being the favourites on court on Friday and Satwik and Chirag did quite well in the department.
Satwik-Chirag seemed have worked a lot on their coordinated attack and defence and have started playing a lot quicker and more flat strokes to set up their attacking threat, which is steep smashes from both Chirag and Satwik.
In the past three tournaments, the pair can also been seen playing a lot more smartly by playing a lot of cross shuttles and putting a lot of variety behind their attack to take their opponents by surprise.
On Friday, Satwik-Chirag started in the same manner and kept a steady lead against their South Korean opponents. While Choi-Seo tried hard to close the gap, they failed to do the same and the Indian pair took the first game with ease.
The second game, however, saw the South Koreans alter their strategy a little. Choi-Seo started playing straight and flat at the bodies of Satwik and Chirag a lot more and that reaped rewards for them as they took the second game 21-17.
The third game was a nerve-wracking one as both the pairs kept alternating points. Towards the end, Chirag displayed his anticipation skills at the net and played a few brilliant steep smashes to get points.
At 19-19, Chirag served low and earned the match point by some instinctive play which eventually ended with another smash from him. Serving for the match, Chirag and Satwik returned a couple of shuttles before the South Korea threw it wide.
Satwik and Chirag will now take on another South Korean pair - Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol, who earlier beat the Chinese qualifying pair of Huang Kai Xiang and Liu Cheng 14-21, 21-19, 21-17.
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