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Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty Pair Enters Final Of China Masters 2023

Star Indian shuttlers Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty dished out another attacking masterclass to stand a step away from their second BWF Super 750 title after progressing to the men’s doubles final at the China Masters on Saturday. The former world No. 1 Indian pair, who had won their first BWF World Super 750 title at the French Open last year, notched up a 21-15 22-20 win over the newly-formed Chinese duo of He Ji Ting and Ren Xiang Yu in an explosive semi-final that lasted 50 minutes.

The top seeds will face another Chinese pair — second seeds Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang in the summit clash.

“We are feeling really good. The way we played throughout this week, felt like we have got back our rhythm. Like how we played at Asian Games here in China,” said Satwik after the match.

“We are hungry for one more title. We love playing finals. There will be lot of pressure, even opponents will be under pressure. We wanted to play final here, and now we want to end it on a good note. So just want to go back, take rest and see what happens tomorrow.” The match featured some exciting rallies as both the pairs played at a frenetic pace but it was the Indian pair, which had more sting in its attack as it penetrated the defence of its opposition.

The world number 50 pair of He and Ren, who had a title-winning run last week at the Japan Masters, did show their prowess, especially in the second game but Satwik and Chirag displayed great mental fortitude to close the issue in straight games.

Playing the Chinese pair for the first time, Satwik and Chirag produced another attacking game, their electric pace making life difficult for their opposition.

Chirag was unstoppable with his interceptions as he patrolled the front court and pounced on anything remotely weak, while Satwik added some loopy returns at the backline along with his thunderous smashes.

The Indians didn’t put a foot wrong, leading from the start to move from 6-2 to 10-4 in a jiffy. The duo often created those tough angles for their opponents.

The Chinese were no pushovers and produced a barrage of smashes which were negotiated well by the Indians, who entered the break with a healthy 11-6 lead. This was after Satwik unleashed a booming smash on a return to serve.

The Chinese duo tried to regroup and claimed four of the next five points after resumption to cut the deficit to 10-12.

However, once the Indians got back the serve, they again mounted their attack with Chirag often creating the opportunity with his blocks for Satwik to provide the finishing touch.

The Indians were simply sensational as their immaculate coordination of moving back and forth only aggravated the worries of the Chinese pair.

Soon the Indians led 18-10. When the Chinese went wide, India had seven-game points and they converted it on the third chance when He went to the net.

Nothing changed in the second game as once again both the pairs fought for supremacy in some fierce rallies but this time the Chinese combination managed to lead 4-3 at one stage.

The Chinese pair did better with their frontcourt play in the second game to lead 8-6 after the Indians went wide.

A couple of more errors in their return to serve and He and Ren moved to a healthy three-point cushion at the interval.

After resumption, the Chinese pair went 12-9 ahead after the Indian left the backcourt unguarded. The Indians tried to focus on varying the pace and working on the angles in the rallies and it reaped dividends as they clawed back at 13-13.

Two clever shots on the backcourt helped the Indians make it 15-15 and they soon held a two-point cushion at 18-16 when Ren went long. Another sensational rally ended with Satwik sending his backhand looping over to the back as it was 19-17.

But Satwik next sent the shuttle to net twice as it was 19-19. However, Chirag’s smash gave them one match point but they squandered it. The Indians grabbed their second match point when Ren netted one and this time Satwik unleashed his trademark smash to seal their place in the final.

Satwik and Chirag have won the Badminton Asian Championships, Indonesia Super 1000, Korea Super 500, Swiss Super 300 and the Asian Games gold medal in a stellar year.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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