Yeosu. India’s star pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty continued their dream run to clinch the Korea Open men’s doubles title with a three-game final win over top seeded Indonesian pair of Fajr Alfiyan and Mohd Riyan Ardiyanto, here on Sunday. The world number three Indian pair, playing their fourth final of the year, defeated two-time World Championship bronze medalists Alfian and Ardianto 17-21 21-13 21-14 in a thrilling encounter at the Super 500 badminton tournament. In this way, the 2022 Commonwealth Games champion pair of Satwik and Chirag took the number of victories in consecutive matches to 10 and added to their achievements.
The Indian pair has won the Swiss Open, Asian Championship and Indonesia Open this year. The pair had a 2-2 head-to-head record against Asian Games silver medalists Alfian and Ardianto, having defeated the Indonesian pair on the last two occasions. Initially, however, the Indian players looked a bit slow, trailing in the first game. But at the end of the game, he came back and scored six points to make it 10-19, but still could not make it to his name. The Indian pair came back brilliantly to dominate the second game and win the third game to seal the title.
The Indonesian pair raced to a 4-2 lead with fast-paced flat rallies and did not give their rivals a chance to attack. Mistakes also cost Satwik and Chirag as they were trailing by seven points at the break. The Indian pair then grabbed some quick points but the Indonesians took a 16-7 lead. Ardianto hit a smash to go ahead 19-11. The Indian pair grabbed the next three points and played a thrilling rally in which the Indonesian hit the net. Satwik’s smash shot made the difference three points but the next shot went wide, giving Indonesia four game points to take the first game.
The second game started as an evenly matched contest which saw some scintillating rallies by both the pairs. The Indian pair dominated the rallies with quick and powerful shots. The Indians held on to a 6-4 lead till 10-8 with Satwik hitting his favorite smash. By the break, India had taken a three-point lead. Then Chirag’s cross court return made it 17-11. Soon Satwik and Chirag grabbed nine game points. He lost two of these, after which he won the game and reached the decider. Satwik and Chirag were in complete control in the third game, taking a 9-6 lead which extended to 11-8 at the break. The Indians again played aggressively and managed to keep the pressure on the world number one pair.
Chirag then put India ahead 13-10. All the attempts of Alfia and Ardianto were going in vain, giving the Indian pair an 18-12 lead.Alfian fired a brilliant backhand return but dropped the next one in the net to give the Indians seven match points. They couldn’t take advantage of the first one but converted the next one into points and celebrated the win with a ‘Gangnam’ style dance. On Saturday, the Indian pair had stormed into the final with a thrilling straight-game win over world number two pair of Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang of China.
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Satwik and Chirag have won several titles since their pairing, including a Commonwealth Games gold medal, a Thomas Cup gold medal, a bronze medal at the World Championships, as well as victories in Super 300 (Syed Modi and Swiss Open), Super 500 (Thailand and India Open), Super 750 (French Open) and Indonesia Open Super 1000 titles. The BWF World Tour is divided into six levels, including the World Tour Finals, four Super 1000 tournaments, six Super 750 tournaments, seven Super 500 tournaments and 11 Super 300 tournaments. Another category of tournament is the BWF Tour Super 100 level which also carries ranking points.