Monday, May 20, 2024

Indonesia Open: Satwik/Chirag seal maiden entry into final of BWF Super 1000 event; Prannoy loses (Ld)

India’s top men’s doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty cruised into the final of the Indonesia Open badminton championship, but there was no such luck for the top men’s singles player, H.S. Prannoy as he lost to World No.1 Viktor Axelsen in the semifinals of the Indonesia Open here on Saturday.

While Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty marked their maiden entry into the Indonesia Open men’s doubles final and also reached this stage for the first time in a BWF World Tour Super 1000 event, Prannoy, who won the Malaysia Masters title in May, went down to the Danish top seed on another mixed day for India. Prannoy lost 15-21, 15-21 in 46 minutes in the men’s singles semifinal.

Satwik and Chirag, who are ranked sixth in the World but are seeded seventh here, defeated South Korea’s Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae in three hard-fought games 17-21, 21-19, 21-18 in the first semifinal at the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Palace here on Saturday.

In the final, Satwik and Chirag will take on the winner of the second semifinal between second-seeded Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia and Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Rambitan of Indonesia, who are ranked 25th in the BWF men’s doubles rankings.

Satwik and Chirag conceded an early 3-6 lead in the first game of their semifinal encounter with the Korean pair.

Though the Indian combine, the Commonwealth Games gold medallists, tried to bridge the gap, the Koreans managed to maintain their advantage as they extended their lead to 14-6. Though Satwik and Chirag reduced the gap to 14-18 and then to 16-19, the Korean pair earned four game points. The Indians saved one before Kang and Seo won the game 21-17.

In the second game, Satwik and Chirag took an early lead at 3-1, which they extended to 7-3 and 11-4 soon. The Koreans cut down the gap to 12-15 and then reduced it further to 16-18. But the Indians won three points in a row to earn four game points. The Koreans saved three game points but the Indian pair could not be denied and they won the game 21-17 and took the match to the decider.

The two pairs went neck and neck in the initial stages of the decider before breaking away from 5-5 to win the next seven points and lead 12-5. However, the Koreans launched some good attacks to reduce the margin to 9-12 and finally caught up with Satwik and Chirag at 16-16. The Indians then won three points in a row and earned match points at 20-17 and sealed victory at 21-18 to seal victory in 67 minutes and claim a berth in the final.

Playing against Prannoy, Axelsen took an early lead of 3-1 and the players went neck and neck till 8-6 before the Indian caught up with him at 8-8. Axelsen won the next four points for a 12-8 lead and extended it to 16-9. Prannoy reduced the margin to 15-18 but the former World Champion from Denmark won the next three points to win the first game 21-15.

In the second game, Axelsen went up 4-1 and though Prannoy came close to levelling scores at 4-5, the Dane won the next five points to make it 11-4, Though Prannoy again fought back to 14-11, Axelsen was too strong and did not make many mistakes as he extended the lead to 17-11. With one final push, the 30-year-old Indian reduced the margin to 17-15, the 29-year-old Axelsen claimed the next four points to clinch the game and match.

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