Satwik-Chirag sail into French Open final

Published on Oct 29, 2022 10:29 PM IST

The world No 8 Indian pair beat South Koreans Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho in straight games to enter the summit clash

Chirag Shetty (R) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (L) of India
Chirag Shetty (R) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (L) of India
By, New Delhi

Such is their reputation now, you expect Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty to challenge, if not beat, the best in the business on any given day. It was the same dependability last year that made them the only pair to beat eventual champions Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin at the Tokyo Olympics. It also helped them knockout defending champions Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi – who they also beat on Friday – from the World Championships in August.

It was the same consistency that took the world No 8 pair into their third final of the year – if you count out the Thomas Cup victory – by beating South Koreans Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho in the men’s doubles semi-finals of the $675,000 French Open in Paris on Saturday. This was the first time the two pairs met with the reigning Commonwealth Games champions coming out on top with a 21-18, 21-14 victory in 46 minutes at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.

The seventh seeded Indian combine clearly had an edge from the start. Shetty and Rankireddy, particularly the former, were aggressive with Shetty lethal at the net, hammering down any bird in his zone. Rankireddy and Shetty, who had also reached the French Open final three years ago when they lost to Indonesians Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, kept the upper hand throughout the game, helping them to go ahead in the contest quite easily.

The Thomas Cup champions maintained the momentum and control in the second game too, forcing the Koreans to make regular errors at the net. Clearly the better pair on the day, the Indians completely controlled the contest, taking away easy points. The flat shots were being drilled into the floor by Shetty while Rankireddy kept his right-arm active with his booming smashes. The Koreans’ game was not there and had no answers for Shetty’s body smashes, who used another one into Choi to close the match in their favour.

Coach Mathias Boe approved his wards’ performance with a nod and thumbs-up with Rankireddy breaking into another dance with the victory.

Shetty and Rankireddy, who became the first Indian men’s doubles pair to win a medal (bronze) at the World Championships in August, will face the winner of the other semi-final between England's Ben Lane and Sean Vendy and Chinese Taipei’s Lu Ching Yao ad Yang Po Han on Sunday.

If the Indians pull it off, it will be their third title of the year after the India Open crown in January and the Commonwealth Games gold in August. It would also mean their biggest BWF World Tour title as the French Open is a Super 750 tournament.


    From badminton to cricket, Sandip Sikdar writes on many sporting disciplines. He has the experience of working in digital, news agency as well as print organisations. Motorsport remains his first love.

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