BWF World Championships 2022 preview: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty India’s biggest bet for medal in doubles

India has sent a 20-member contingent to Tokyo for the three doubles events - men’s, women’s, and mixed - at the BWF World Championships 2022.

The Indian duo, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, after winning the Commonwealth Games gold, will lead India’s medal hopes in doubles.

The Indian duo, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, after winning the Commonwealth Games gold, will lead India’s medal hopes in doubles. | Photo Credit: PTI

India has sent a 20-member contingent to Tokyo for the three doubles events - men’s, women’s, and mixed - at the BWF World Championships 2022.

The Indian duo, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty – who will return in action after winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games — will be the country’s biggest bet for a medal at the Championships.

Last year in the Olympics, despite beating the eventual gold medallist Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin, the pair made a heartbreaking group stage exit.

Now, on their return to Tokyo, the Indian pair - the seventh seed - is determined to change their fortunes at the Metropolitan Gymnasium

Since the Tokyo Olympics, their performance graph has improved sharply. They won the India Open in January, the Thomas Cup in May and the Commonwealth Games (CWG) gold, and team titles in August.

The competition at the Worlds, however, will be much tougher than what they negotiated for, in Birmingham earlier this month. Their potential opponents in the third round might be 13th seed, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, who have got a bye in the first two rounds.

The Malaysians could be gritty opponents, regardless of their seeding. The same can be said about the All England Open champion – Muhammad Shohibul Fikri-Bagas Maulana of Indonesia – or the second seed Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi of Japan.

Satwik and Chirag have 1-0 and 1-1 head-to-head records against the Indonesian and the Japanese pairs.

Of the remaining Indian men's doubles pairings, M.R. Arjun-Dhruv Kapila, Krishna Prasad, V. V. G Panjala and Manu Attari-B. Sumeeth Reddy, only two -- Arjun-Kapila and Prasad-Panjala -- are ranked in the top 50.

In women's and mixed doubles, no Indian pair is seeded.

The emerging women's doubles combo of Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand - who made two third-place finishes in the All England Open and CWG this year – may have an opportunity to settle scores with old opponents Pearly Tan and Thinaah Muralitharan.

In women’s doubles, India will be represented by the pairings of N. Sikki Reddy-Ashwini Ponnappa and Gayatri Gopichand-Treesa Jolly.

In women’s doubles, India will be represented by the pairings of N. Sikki Reddy-Ashwini Ponnappa and Gayatri Gopichand-Treesa Jolly.

The eight-seed Malaysians -- who won the CWG gold medal -- defeated the Indians twice in Birmingham.

World no. 25 Ashwini Ponappa and N. Sikki Reddy's will face an uphill battle against its potential opponent and top seed Chen Qingchen-Jia Yifan, who has got a bye in the first round.

In mixed doubles, world no. 41 Ishan Bhatnagar-Tanisha Cresto and world no. 57 Venkat Gaurav Prasad-Juhi Dewangan will be India's representatives.

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