Malaysia Open 2024: Satwik-Chirag loses to Liang-Wang in final

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India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty faltered at the finishing line to end their dream run at the Malaysia Open Super 1000 with a narrow loss in the men’s doubles final against world No. 1 Chinese Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang here on Sunday.

Satwik and Chirag, the Asian Games gold medallists, squandered an opening game advantage and an 11-7 lead in the decider to go down 21-9, 18-21, 17-21 to Liang and Wang in the summit clash which saw both the pairs displaying some exquisite strokeplay.

“We are happy with how we played in the tournament but a little disappointed that we couldn’t control our nerves.

“We played under lot more pressure than them towards the end and made silly mistake but they kept pressing us. Hopefully, we will take revenge next time,” Satwik said after the match.

“I was expecting it to be tough after the change of ends. We thought we should keep 4-5 lead and it would be nice going into the last stretch. Things were a bit here and there and then they were 12-12. Same situation happened in Malaysia Open and All England last year.”

It was a fourth defeat for the Indian pair against Liang and Wang, having lost three of their last four meetings — all in 2023. The only time Satwik and Chirag had emerged victories was during their title-winning run at Korea Open last year.

Shetty of India in action. | Photo Credit: SHI TANG

India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty faltered at the finishing line to end their dream run at the Malaysia Open Super 1000 with a narrow loss in the men’s doubles final against world No. 1 Chinese Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang here on Sunday.

Satwik and Chirag, the Asian Games gold medallists, squandered an opening game advantage and an 11-7 lead in the decider to go down 21-9, 18-21, 17-21 to Liang and Wang in the summit clash which saw both the pairs displaying some exquisite strokeplay.

“We are happy with how we played in the tournament but a little disappointed that we couldn’t control our nerves.

“We played under lot more pressure than them towards the end and made silly mistake but they kept pressing us. Hopefully, we will take revenge next time,” Satwik said after the match.

“I was expecting it to be tough after the change of ends. We thought we should keep 4-5 lead and it would be nice going into the last stretch. Things were a bit here and there and then they were 12-12. Same situation happened in Malaysia Open and All England last year.”

It was a fourth defeat for the Indian pair against Liang and Wang, having lost three of their last four meetings — all in 2023. The only time Satwik and Chirag had emerged victories was during their title-winning run at Korea Open last year.

“Coach (Mathias Boe) said that we should keep the racquet up and move our foot. We knew they would come back, we should have been calmer and they played exceedingly well,” Chirag said.

In fast playing conditions, the Indians dominated the proceedings early on, cruising to a 5-1 lead with the help of some angled returns and accurate placements.

Satwik and Chirag looked in complete control while their opponents were a bit nervy as they played short and pacy rallies comprising just 5-8 flat and fast shots.

The Indians had a seven-point advantage at the break when the Chinese went to the net.

The targeted returns of the Indians often left the Chinese cramped as they patrolled the front court. Soon the Indians were 18-9 up and grabbed the opening game after Liang went wide and long.

It was time for the Chinese pair to run up a 8-2 lead after the change of ends as the Indians repeatedly missed their mark. Satwik also committed a service error as the Chinese duo was 9-5 up and when Chirag mistimed a return-to-serve, it was a 11-6 advantage for Liang and Wang.

The match didn’t see too many smashes as none of the pairs tried to lift and kept the shuttle flat during the rallies. The focus was to find gaps and angles without compromising on the pace.

After resumption, the Indians started to draw out errors from their opponents to make it 15-17. A short serve from Satwik gave two game points to the Chinese, and Liang sealed it with a lethal return to roar back into the contest.

The decider started with the same breathtaking speed with the Indians up 4-2 after Liang was called for a service fault for height.

Back to the winning side, the Indians once again looked ominous, waltzing away with quick points to move to 10-3 before taking a four-point cushion at the final break.

Chirag was brilliant near the net, pouncing on anything marginally weak but things started changing after resumption as Wang came to the fore, dominating the front court and soon brought things at level at 12-12 with a flick serve.

Satwik seemed to falter a bit in the end as he conceded a few points on the flat pushes. On one such occasion, when Satwik went wide during a flat exchange, the Chinese moved into a 14-13 lead for the first time.

Liang, who had looked a bit subdued till now, also found his groove just in time as the Chinese moved to 19-16.

A disguised cross court drop shot gave four championship points to the Chinese. The Indians saved one before the Chinese shut the doors on their hopes.

It was yet another creditable performance from the Indian pair, which had claimed its maiden Super 1000 crown at the Indonesia Open last June.

Satwik and Chirag will next compete at the India Open Super 750 tournament starting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Denmark’s Anders Antonsen clinched the Malaysia Open badminton men’s title, outclassing China’s Shi Yuqi in the final.

The women’s singles title was won by South Korea’s An Se-young, who battled from a game down to beat Taiwanese Tai Tzu-ying 10-21, 21-10, 21-18.

In doing so, the world number one, An, became the first South Korean women’s singles shuttler to claim the Malaysia Open title.

Japan’s world number two pair Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino won the mixed doubles title after they overcame South Korea’s Kim Won-ho-Jeong Na-eun 21-18, 21-15.

Liu Sheng Shu-Tan Ning triumphed in the all Chinese women’s doubles final after they downed compatriots Zhang Shuxian-Zheng Yu 21-18, 21-18.

Featured Image: Sportstar: The Hindu

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