Reddy-Shetty topple world champs
Bangkok, August 4
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty created history by becoming the first Indian pair to win a BWF Super 500 badminton tournament, stunning reigning world champions Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen in the final of Thailand Open.
Rankireddy and Shetty posted a hard-fought 21-19 18-21 21-18 win to claim their biggest career title after battling for an hour and two minutes against the third seeded Chinese combo. During the thrilling summit clash against the World No. 2 Chinese team, Rankireddy displayed brilliant anticipation and extraordinary placements from the front court, while Shetty controlled the backcourt effortlessly. Li and Liu had earlier this year beaten the Indians at the Australian Open.
“When we played them at the Australian Open, we lost to them very closely. We understood they were under pressure today but we had none since we were very excited to play our first final,” said Rankireddy. “I have some shoulder issues so we had decided that I would play more from the front and Chirag from the back. I was focussing more on the service and the net.”
Rankireddy and Shetty started attacking from the word go and after breaking away from 3-3, they moved ahead to open up a 10-6 lead, but their Chinese opponents made it 14-14. It was a closely-fought affair after that and the Indian pair could take a slight edge only at 20-18. Although Li and Liu narrowed the gap down to 19-20, the Indians managed to win the crucial point to wrap up the first game.