Satwik-Chirag enter Korea Open final

Yeosu (Korea): 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.

The Chinese duo had won both their previous matches against the Indians before but this time it was the turn of Satwik-Chirag to win. Typical of doubles, the rallies were quick and attack oriented. The early stages of the first game were close, with the teams tied at 3-3 and 5-5.

But then Satwik-Chirag opened up a 14-8 lead. They rode on it comfortably to pocket the first game. The second game continued at the same rhythm and there was little to separate the two pairs as the score was tied at 8-8. But once again the tall Indian combo streaked ahead, first to 11-8 and then to 14-9.

But there was no running away with the game this time for Satwik-Chirag, as the Chinese pair fought back and made it 18-18, and then 19-19. The oohs and aahs and cheers in the stadium reached a fever pitch as the two teams went level till 22-22.

Finally, on their fourth matchpoint, the Indian pair converted. Satwik made a crosscourt placement and celebrated with a jig.