The unseeded Indian pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa bowed out of the Thailand Open Super 1000 after going down to top-seeded Thai pair of Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai 20-22, 21-18, 12-21.
It was an end-to-end affair with the unseeded Indian pair going toe-to-toe with top-seeded pair of Puavaranukroh-Taerattanachai in the first game. Ashwini-Satwik were behind just one point at the break but then the Thai pair got a few points on the trot and eventually went on to win the first game 22-20 but not before seeing some fight from the Indian pair.
In the second game, the Indian pair made a comeback despite trailing by five points in the mid-game interval. As the game resumed, the Indian pair did make a comeback and were tied on 12 points each but Puavaranukroh-Taerattanachai again took a lead as the to-and-fro action continued. However, the Indian eventually got the better their Thai counterpart as they won the game 21-18.
It was the same story, as the first, in the third game, the Thai pair took the initial lead, then the Indian pair made a comeback. This time around, the Thai pair headed into the mid-game interval with a two-point advantage (11-9). As the game resumed, the momentum shifted towards the top seed as they won the third game 21-12 and bagged the match 22-20, 18-21, 21-12.
The world number 10 Indian pair, which won its maiden super 500 title in Thailand and entered the finals of French open super 750 event in 2019, lost 18-21 18-21 to world number nine Malayasian combination of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik in a 35-minute match. The Indian pair had participated in Super 1000 events in 2018 ad 2019 but this is the first time it entered the semifinals.
Satwik and Chirag couldn’t bring their best to the fore as the Malaysian were more alert on court and also managed to diffuse any attack from the Indian pair to emerge victories. The Indian pair had a 4-2 lead early on but the Malaysians managed to claw back and eke out a slender 11-10 lead at the break. Satwik and Chirag stayed close till 15-16 when their rivals reeled off four points on the trot to eventually close out the opening game.
In the second game, the Indian duo was up 3-1 but again the Malaysians produced four straight points to move to 7-3. A precise serve and then their rivals finding the net helped Satwik and Chirag to narrow the gap before drawing parity at 8-8. However, two smashes at the backcourt gave Aaron and Soh a three-point advantage at the interval. India couldn’t breach the gap and with Chirag hitting long, the Malaysian grabbed six match points. The Indian pair managed to save four match points before Chirag once again found the net as the Malaysians began celebrating.
(With inputs from PTI)