Commonwealth Games champion Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty’s impressive run ended with a semifinal finish after they went down in three games to China’s Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang in the Malaysia Open Super 1000 tournament on Saturday. The world number 5 Indian pair put up a brave effort but Liang and Wang, ranked 17th, showed better nerves in the closing stages to register a 21-16 11-21 21-15 win in an hour and four minutes match to reach their maiden Super 1000 finals. For the seventh-seeded Indians, it was their third semifinal finish in a Super 1000 tournament.
The match expectedly was a close affair as the two pairs looked to outwit each other in the fast-paced rallies. Satwik and Chirag managed to eke out an 11-9 lead at the break after an initial duel.
However, the Chinese duo didn’t allow the Indian pair to play their attacking game, using drives and blocks. Soon it was 14-14 before Liang and Wang moved ahead to earn the bragging rights.
After the change of ends, the Indians gathered themselves and turned it around as they broke off from 4-4. Satwik and Chirag won 7 of the last 8 points to grab a six-point advantage at the interval.
On resumption, the Indians were more alert and made a better judgment, and picked the right shots to quickly move to 14-5.
Eventually, a powerful smash from Satwik got them 12 game points and they sealed it on their fourth attempt to take the match to the decider after Liang went to the net.
Read more: https://sports.ndtv.com/badminton/malaysia-open-satwiksairaj-rankireddy-chirag-shetty-lose-in-semi-finals-3692552