Thailand Open: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty win doubles title

The Indian duo defeat Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China in the men’s doubles final. They become the first Indian pair to win a BWF Super 500 title.

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty with the trophy. Photo: Special Arrangement

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty became the first Indian pair to win a BWF Super 500 title here on Sunday. They defeated Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China in the Thailand Open final.

In a hard-fought contest that lasted an hour and two minutes, the Indian duo prevailed 21-19, 18-21, 21-18 over the third-seeded Chinese pair. It was the first final of the year for the two Indians; the duo had won the men’s doubles silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

AS IT HAPPENED

Satwiksairaj and Chirag got off to a positive start; they broke away from 3-3 early on and opened up a 10-6 lead. Their opponents, however, soon made it 14-14. In a neck-and-neck battle, the World No. 16 Indians managed to take the game to 20-18. The gap was narrowed down to 20-19, but the Indians managed to clinch the next point to take the game.

In the second game, the Indians managed to take an upper hand once again. They moved to a 6-2 lead, but the Chinese soon bridged the gap to 5-6 before catching up with their opponents at 11-11.

After the interval, the Chinese opened up a two-point lead at 13-11, but the Indians drew parity at 13 apiece. The Indians then overtook their opponents to 16-14 and then climbed up to 18-16 before the Chinese pair won five consecutive points and stun the Indians, taking the match to the third game.

Satwiksairaj and Chirag were slow off the blocks in the third game but managed to make it 6-6.

From there on, they never looked back. They kept their composure to maintain a gap over their rivals till the end. The Chinese pair fought back and at one point, bridged the gap to 18-19. The Indians went on to pocked two consecutive points to seal the match in their favour.