Badminton, French Open: India's Satwiksairaj and Chirag reach semi-finals
Ace Indian shuttlers Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty stormed their way into men's doubles semi-finals of the ongoing French Open on Friday. The number eight ranked duo beat World number one Yugo Kobayashi and Takuro Hoki 23-21, 21-18 to progress further. Notably, the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold-winning pair secured their 32nd win on the BWF Tour. Here's more.
How did the match pan out?
The Indians drew the first blood and raced to an 11-9 lead at the break. Satwiksairaj-Chirag had a five-point cushion near the fag end but allowed their rivals to level the scenes 20-20. The Indian pair eventually prevailed 23-21. A neck-and-neck start to the second game saw Japan eke out a 13-9 lead before the Indians stitched a stupendous comeback to sail through 21-18.
Satwiksairaj-Chirag own a 32-8 record in 2022
Satwiksairaj-Chirag own a 32-8 win-loss record in 2022. Prior to the French Open, the pair exited in the quarter-finals in Denmark Open a week back. They also suffered a semi-final defeat in the World Championships in August. They started the year with an enthralling run at the India Open. However, they followed with second-round defeats at the All-England Open and the Swiss Open.
A look at their journey so far
Satwiksairaj and Chirag staged an enthralling comeback to beat local favorite Christo Popov and Toma Junior Popov 19-21, 21-9, 21-13 in R32. They bested world number 20 Man Wei Chong and Tee Kai Wun of Malaysia 21-16, 21-14 in R16. They overpowered the Japanese duo in two games. The seventh-seeded pair will face South Korea's Choi Sol-gyu and Kim Won-ho in the semi-finals.
Satwiksairaj-Chirag have a distinguishable feat to their name
In 2019, Satwiksairaj and Chirag became only the second Indian duo to reach the final of a BWF 750 event by getting to the French Open finale. They joined the 1983 French Open-winning pair of Partho Ganguli and Vikram Singh. The duo, however, had to be content with silver. They couldn't overcome Indonesia's Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
A look at their career accolades
Satwiksairaj-Chirag is the first Indian duo to breach the Top 10 in men's doubles. They are two-time bronze medallists at the Asia Team Championships (2016, 2020). They made peace with silver in men's doubles in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, besides winning gold in the mixed team event. Earlier this year, the pair was crowned winner in the men's team event at the Thomas Cup.
Satwiksairaj-Chirag have pocketed three BWF World Tour titles
Satwiksairaj and Chirag have won three BWF World Tour titles in men's doubles. They emerged winners at the 2018 Hyderabad Open, 2019 Thailand Open, and 2022 India Open. The pair concluded as the runner-up on two occasions (2018 Syed Modi International and 2019 French Open). Notably, they also hold six titles in BWF International Challenge/Series.