Commonwealth Games champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty advanced to the men’s doubles final of the French Open Super 750 badminton tournament in Paris on Saturday with an impressive victory over Korean duo Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho. The Indian pair of world No. 8 played an offensive game and also controlled the net well to outwit the Korean combination, ranked 18th, 21-18 21-14 in the semi-finals that lasted 45 minutes. Seeded seventh, the Indian pair thus reached the second final of a BWF World Tour event in 2022, having won the India Open Super 500 tournament earlier this year in January.
Satwik and Chirag, who had won a bronze medal at the World Championships in August, will face the winner of the other semi-final between Ben Lane and Sean Vendy from England and Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han from Chinese Taipei.
Against opponents they have never played before, Chirag was relentless up front, while Satwik unleashed his thumping strikes from the back as the Indians put on a clinical show at Stade Pierre de Coubertin.
Satwik and Chirag, the runners-up of the 2019 edition, never seemed to run into trouble as they kept things in check from the start.
The Indians came on an all-out attack and led 2-0 early on and despite the Koreans managing to claw back at 7-7, Satwik and Chirag made sure they had a four-point lead halfway through the game.
After the break, the Koreans briefly tried to dictate the pace of the rallies, with their returns steepening. They soon led 16-13, but an alert Chirag secured an accurate return to keep moving forward.
With the Indians hitting the net and leaving the field on a number of occasions, the Koreans cut the equation to 18-19, but Choi then committed an unforced foul to give two game points to their opponents.
Chirag then sealed the opening game with a precise smash. The Indian pairing continued their aggressive game plan in the second game which saw some good rallies early on. After 3-3, Satwik and Chirag moved into a 7-4 lead.
However, the Koreans came back to 9-10 after a slew of exchanges, but Chirag unleashed a smash to give himself a two-point cushioning going into the break.
Chirag took control of the front court as he was more alert and produced some good shots, even as the Korean pair found it difficult to trail 10-15.
Two net errors from Korea took the Indian pair to 18-12. A misleading return-to-serve gave the Koreans another run, but Chirag responded with a body return.
Choi then went wide handing six match points to the Indians and Chirag sealed it with a punch and raised his arm even as his partner Satwik broke into a dance.
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