Star Indian pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty entered the final of Korea Open super 500 badminton tournament with a thrilling straight-game win over world number two Chinese pair of Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang here on Saturday.
The world number three Indian pair notched up a 21-15 24-22 win over the second seeded Chinese in a 40-minute duel at the Jinnam stadium. It was Satwik and Chirag’s first win over the Chinese pair following two earlier defeats.
Satwik and Chirag, who has won the Indonesia Super 1000 and Swiss Open Super 500 titles this year, will be up against either top seeds Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto of Indonesia or Korea’s Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae in the summit clash.
Satwik then dished out his trademark smash but the Chinese duo got a couple of points, mainly due to Chirag’s judgement error on the backline.
Another smash to net from Liang and it was 17-11 up for Indians, who soon made it 19-12 with Satwik producing an accurate cross-court return.
Satwik-Chirag had six game points after Wang sent one to the net. They squandered one before sealing the game when Liang failed to negotiate a serve.
The second game was no different with both the pairs alternatively taking points, moving from 2-2 to 8-8. Soon the Indians grabbed two quick points with Chirag leading the charge.
The Chinese then hit wide to give an 11-8 advantage to the Indians at the break.
After resumption, Wang’s backhand went to net as the Indians soon raced to 14-9.
A cross-court return by Wang and Liang’s brilliance in the fore court kept the Chinese in the hunt as it was 12-14.
The Chinese kept breathing down the Indians’ neck till 17-15 before Liang unleashed a smash and the match headed for a tight finish.
The Indians regained the two-point lead after the Chinese went wide but Liang once again pounced on a weak return at the net and then sent down another jump smash to draw parity at 18-18.
Liang then sent one long and Chirag served short and it was 19-19.
Chirag then sent a smash to grab match-point, but Satwik was short in his serve and it was 20-20.
India earned a second match-point with Satwik sending down a stiff return,m but he squandered it with Wang putting one away.
Wang, however, sprayed the next one on the net before Liang scored with a smash to make it 22-22.
The Indians grabbed their fourth match-point and converted this time with Satwik sending one across, albeit after kissing the net. He soon broke into his trademark dance.
The BWF World Tour is divided into six levels, namely World Tour Finals, four Super 1000, six Super 750, seven Super 500, and 11 Super 300.One other category of the tournament, the BWF Tour Super 100 level, also offers ranking points.