New Delhi: Asian Games gold medallists men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy secured a hard-fought 21-15, 19-21, 21-16 victory over Chinese Taipei’s Fang-Chih Lee and Fang-Jen Lee to advance to the second round of the India Open Super 750 badminton tournament here the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Wednesday.
The first game saw both the pairs on an equal footing in the early exchanges, with the Indians and Taipei shuttlers engaging in a closely contested battle. However, Satwik and Chirag managed to gain a lead, holding on to an 11-10 advantage at the time of break.
Following the mid-game break, they extended their lead to four points, with the Taipei shuttlers making efforts to challenge the Indian duo. Undeterred, the world No. 2 Indian pair maintained their impressive play, ultimately securing the opening game with a scoreline of 21-15.
The Taipei duo held an early 5-1 lead in the second game, and quickly extended it to 8-3, Satwik-Chirag did manage to earn a couple of points to close the gap but it was the Taipei duo who went on to breather with a 11-5 lead.
After resumption, Chih and Jen maintained a five-point lead at 12-7, but the Indians swiftly earned five consecutive points, tying the score at 12-all. The game then became closely contested for a short period before the Taipei duo regained a five-point lead.
Satwik and Chirag staged a comeback with three consecutive points, yet an error at the net gave Taipei shuttlers a game-point chance. A clever shot from Chirag saved the first match point, but Chih and Jen secured the second game with a score of 21-19.
In the final game, the Indian duo once again took control of the rallies with their attacking strokes to set up a second-round clash against the winner of the match between England’s Ben Lane and Sean Vendy and Chiense Taipei’s Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han.
“We are really happy with the way we are playing and the way we have started. We have worked a lot on our defence over the past two years and it has brought a new facet in our armor because you can't always rely on your attack in these slow conditions. We are happy to get that first win here and hopefully, we go deep into the tournament,” stated Satwiksairaj Rankireddy after the win.
Earlier, India's 2021 World Championships silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth endured a 22-24, 13-21 defeat against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu in the men’s singles opening round.
In the women's doubles, Ashwini Ponappa and Tanisha Crasto went down 5-21, 21-18, 11-21 against Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand while Ashwini Bhatt and Shikha Gautam lost 13-21, 3-21 against three-time World Championships medallists Kim So-Yeong and Kong Hee-Yong of South Korea.
Elsewhere, the men's doubles combination of Krishna Prasad Garaga and K Sai Pratheek lost 14-21, 11-21 to Japan's Kenya Mitsuhashi and Hiroki Okamura.
India’s challenge ended in women's doubles after both Ashwini Ponnappa/Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Bhat/Shikha Gautam suffered defeats.
In women’s singles, defending champion An Se-Young of South Korea had to work hard for her 14-21, 21-11, 21-11 victory against three-time India Open champion Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand. Two-time former World Champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan defeated Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark 26-24, 21-13.
Indonesia's men's singles shuttlers had a good day with the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist Jonatan Christie defeating Hong Kong's Angus NG Ka Long 21-13, 21-7 while Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Anthony Ginting secured a closely contested 16-21, 23-21, 21-17 victory over Kanta Tsuneyama.
Earlier in the day, top seeds Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang of China sealed a 21-18, 21-18 victory against Lee Jhe-Huei and Yang Po-Hsuan of Chinese Taipei. IANS