India’s top men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty continued with their giant-killing spree as they reached the semi-finals of China Open in Fuzhou on Friday.
Satwik-Chirag took 43 minutes to beat world No.3 Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China 21-19, 21-15 to advance to the last four, leaving the crowd in the hall absolutely stunned.
This is Satwik-Chirag’s second straight win over Li-Liu after they had defeated the Chinese pair to win the Thailand Open in August this year.
With the victory, Satwik-Chirag, who are ranked No.9 in the world right now, will climb to the seventh spot in next week’s rankings.
It was a tactical masterclass from Satwik-Chirag, who channeled their aggressive gameplay into playing a brilliant flat game to trap the Chinese pair into the web of their game.
It remained in an even state in the first game till Satwik-Chirag won four straight points from 8-8 to take a 12-8 lead. Trailing 13-16, Li-Liu hit back to take four straight points to take a 17-16 lead.
However, Satwik-Chirag equalised and then brought up two game points. The Chinese pair managed to save one but the Indians took the second to seal the first game.
The second game began in the same manner but Satwik-Chirag took a 10-7 lead. However, Li-Liu won three straight points to equalise at 10-10 but the Indians went into the break with a slender 11-10 lead.
At 12-12, Satwik-Chirag won three straight points to make it 15-12. What was working for the Indians was how they were not giving away any easy angles to Li-Liu to work with and kept their flat strokes extremely tight. Chirag was absolutely brilliant at the net, playing extremely tight and spinning net shots to make it harder for the Chinese pair.
From that point on, the Chinese pair could just grab three points while Satwik-Chirag’s intelligent gameplay paid dividends as they took the match with a 21-15 win in the second game.