Satwik-Chirag win Thailand Open title

01:06 PM May 19, 2024 | PTI |

In a confidence-boosting performance ahead of Paris Olympics, star Indian shuttlers Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Sunday won the Thailand Open Super 500 badminton tournament with a straight-game win over Chen Bo Yang and Liu Yi of China, here.


Satwik and Chirag, the world number three pair, prevailed 21-15 21-15 over Liu and Chen, ranked 29th, for their ninth BWF world tour title in men’s doubles.

It was also the second title of the season for the Asian Games champions following their triumph at the French Open Super 750 in March. They had also finished runners-up at Malaysia Super 1000 and India Super 750.

”It has been a lucky tournament for us. The journey started from here. We lifted this title in 2019 and again we are lifting it here now. After 2019, we went on to win many tournaments and, hopefully, it will give more boost to us in the upcoming important tournaments,” Satwik said after the win.

”They keep on playing fast and we knew we couldn’t relax. Overall, I think it’s the best match we played throughout the tournament. We kept everything calm and under control. So really happy that we played well.” Asked about Paris Games, Chirag said: ”Not just us but all athletes want to go out there in the Olympics and win that medal and we too want that and hopefully we will play well there.” For Satwik and Chirag, the title comes at a crucial juncture of their careers as they had some low returns in the last couple of tournaments.


The Indian pair lost in the second round at All England Championships and then missed the Asia Championships due to an injury to Satwik. The Thomas Cup campaign was also not too fruitful as they lost a couple of narrow matches to top pairs. Satwik and Chirag had come into the Thailand Open final without dropping a game and were favourites to claim the title, while Liu and Chen also produced some stunning wins in the run-up to the summit clash and had the reputation of never losing a final.

However, it was always going to be a tough task to tame the top-seeded Indians, who didn’t allow the Chinese to get into long rallies or sustain any pressure.

Satwik and Chirag made a superb start by quickly opening up a 5-1 lead. Chen and Liu clawed back with a four-point burst.

At 7-7, the Chinese pair won a 39-shot rally and surged ahead to 10-7 before spraying one long. Liu and Chen played a few intense rallies but Chirag unleashed a bullet return to draw level at 10-10 but Liu ensured they had a slender edge at the break.

Satwik and Chirag moved to 14-11 after resumption before Satwik sliced one to net. The Indians extended the lead to 16-12. Liu sent a lob over Satwik’s head to set up a point, while Chirag sprayed into net as the Chinese kept snapping at their heels.

However, the Indians soon grabbed five game points with Satwik sending one to the corner and then dishing out another superb service which the Chinese could only bury into the net.

The Indians made a solid 8-3 start after the change of sides and maintained the five-point cushion at the interval when the Chinese dumped one into the net.

Chen and Liu registered three straight points but Satwik broke the run of play with an aggressive return. At 15-11, Satwik received warning for delaying the game and with Chirag overhitting twice, Chen and Liu moved to 14-15.

But the Indians dashed any hopes of a mutiny with Chirag setting up a point with a fine placement and Satwik providing the finishing touch as they moved to 17-15. Satwik then unleashed a barrage of smashes to grab five match points. The Chinese sent Chirag’s smash into the net. As part of celebrations, Satwik broke into a dance with his racquet, while Chirag threw his shirt into the crowd. Chirag hoped the win would spur the youngsters to put in the hard yards and dream big.

”Not just the men’s doubles, doubles in general, I know such wins give a lot of boost to the youngsters back home, to push themselves and not be satisfied,” Chirag said. ”A lot of people thought the Chinese or Indonesians are notches above us but the way we have been playing the last couple of years, it definitely gives the youngsters a chance to rethink and beat the best players in the world.”


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