Chirag Shetty: Thailand Open win our biggest title victory so far

Credit to the support staff who ensured the players are in perfect frame of mind.

On Saturday, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty created history by becoming the first Indian team to enter the summit clash of a BWF Super 500 tournament with a three-game win in the Thailand Open semifinals.

On Saturday, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty created history by becoming the first Indian team to enter the summit clash of a BWF Super 500 tournament with a three-game win in the Thailand Open semifinals.   -  Getty Images

Brushing aside the series of disappointments in recent times by the premier singles players, India’s leading men’s combination of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty served a reminder that they are not too far behind when it comes to winning a major Super Series title.

It was the Malaysian doubles coach Tan Kim Her, who left this March even though his contract was to end after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, who formed this combination of Satwik and Chirag five years ago.

MATCH REPORT| Thailand Open: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty win doubles title

And, the new coach Dwi Kristiawan’s move to have the 18-year-old Satwik on the frontcourt, given his ability to come up with stunning smashes, proved to be a clincher.

It wasn’t easy for the duo to play back-to-back marathon matches and sustain peak form. Satwik even braved a niggle in the shoulder to play on.

The credit should go to the support staff of phyio Johnson Solomon and recovery specialit G. Srinivas who ensured the players are in perfect frame of mind.

“When we played them at the Australian Open, we lost to them very closely. We understood they (Chinese) were under pressure today but we had none since we were very excited to play our first final. I have some shoulder issues so we had decided that I would play more from the front and Chirag from the back. I was focussing more on the service and the net,” said Satwik.

AS IT HAPPENED

Smart rotation

It was obvious that the smart rotation of the shuttle to keep the feared Chinese opponents guessing clearly worked for the Indians. Even when the Indians were engaged in long rallies, they never gave up and when they clinched the first match-point it was a fitting finale to a terrific week-long campaign.

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“It’s the biggest title we have won so far in our career. Right now, I am out of words after playing in a final and beating the current World champions. I am extremely happy,” Chirag said.

“I think it is refreshing to see the doubles pair win a major title. The few questions often raised about the general standard of doubles game in India may have been answered with this performance,” chief national coach P. Gopi Chand told Sportstar.

“The best part of this win is they are young and have many weapons in their armoury and they can go a long way. We always believed that they had the potential and the timing of this win could not have come at a better time this being the Olympics qualifying cycle,” Gopi said.

“I will not say that I expected them to win the title, but I am certainly not surprised,” concluded the former All England champion.