Malaysia Open: Leading 10-3 in deciding match, Satwik-Chirag lose to China’s world No. 1 pair in final | Badminton News

Some believe that Chinese badminton decision-makers a few years ago set out to find men’s doubles talent that could be shaped along the lines and game style of Indonesia’s legendary Minions pair.

What Chinese coaches were sniffing out were hustlers with incredible serving skills, speed, and shot variation who could deftly change every moment and mood of a rally, creating unbalanced, reflexive returns. In Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang, we found skill users who can play a busy game. Although not a perfect replica, in the process of evolution, Liang Wang was on the way to his model Gideon Sukamuljo.

With just 2 wins and 4 losses, compared to 0 wins and 11 losses against the Minions, playing against these Chinese players is becoming a headache for Satwiksairaj Rankirdi and Chirag Shetty. Unfortunately, the Indians have missed out on two finals appearances and an All England appearance in recent years.

On Sunday in 2024, in the first Malaysia Open final, world No. 2 India lost to world No. 1 China 9-21, 21-18, 21-17. In the deciding match, Satwik-Chirag led 10-3. There are two things you can trust about the Indian aces. It’s about them starting a rally to win with his 1-2-3 shot first. And they end the game with the modern cliché, monster mentality. However, the Chinese team, which came back from a 9-3 deficit in the deciding match, showed up for the Indians at both the start and end of each rally. Tension consumed the Indian until it devoured him.

The game started with a 21-9 blitz from courtside by the Indians, and Satwik took a 4-0 lead with a monster 466 km/h smash. Wang overshot the straight return with a high-speed push and looked stunned when it went long. The Indians did not allow China’s serve and scored quickly. With Wang in complete disarray setting up the net, the Indians continued to rally and quickly took the lead in the 13th minute.

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The Indians were not satisfied with this as they had previously played a similar match against Malaysia at the All England. And when they trailed 8-11 in the second, they knew a comeback was underway. Wang made a mistake and hit the net, Satwik was chasing him, but no doubt the Chinese will wake up in surprise.

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The second set was unfavorable, but it was Wang’s ability to recover from his funk that really turned the tables. He was tentative up until 15-12, at which point he showed off some great body defense parries, won some quick exchanges, and regained his confidence and balance.

Still, the Indians and Chirag in particular looked like they wanted a quick showdown like they did in the semi-finals. But these Chinese don’t flake like croissants or like Koreans or Malaysians. When they face the Indians, who lost in front of their home crowd in the Asian Games, there is a spirit of steel and a bit of malice behind their easygoing smiles. Satwik continued to bash as he wasn’t giving his 100%, but at this point he started making a few errors on his serve and return. At 18-19, he hit his serve into the net. The Chinese didn’t have to ask twice. The Indians were dragged into the finals.

mixing serve

Back in the favor, the Indians took a 10-3 lead, but things fell apart. The problem with being good at a 1-2-3 shot early in a rally is that if it goes into overtime, the Indians will be forced to play defense. Wang regained his creativity and began mixing up his serves, with Liang using a tumble serve and switching to a flick serve.
These were quality openings when China played, and the Indians couldn’t really stop the returns.

India’s big attacks could not be broken as the Chinese players hit blocks from the center of the court and varied their short dips instead of flat pushes. Wang then found the length of the drive and stopped the long whistle to stay within range. Chirag remained deadly, but Satwik was crumbling. “This wasn’t our 100 percent game. There’s still something left outside the court, I felt it inside me. I’m not satisfied enough. In some other tournaments , I was happy that I was able to give my 100 percent. But here I felt we only played 60-70 percent,” Satwick told BWF.

But fittingly, when they could not trouble Chirag, they put pressure on Satwik, who was in bombastic mode. Liang cut the pace from Shuttle and began coaxing some familiar lifts from Satwick, which Wang gleefully pulped and smashed.These were rushed defensive lifts that lacked depth or height and were duly penalized.

All four serves were under pressure and errors were made, but Satwik hit another poor serve at 15-17. The Chinese team jumped on the same shuttle just one point short, causing confusion among those around them, but they resolved the confusion with a smile. Then, Liang sent his serve into the net. But at 16-18, the Chinese brought out “minion”-like reflexes and a wild racket thrust, magically connecting, and Liang returned everything thrown at him. Satwick could not resist the next lift, and the Chinese side trapped and cooked the prey, showing good nerve in the end.

“I thought we should have at least a four- or five-point lead. Don’t panic even if you’re down by two or three points here and there. Let’s play the game. Don’t think about the lead. Yesterday. The same thing happened to them. Here they came back. Even though they were down 10-3, they played freely. One point could have made it 11-3. But next time. It was 10-7. When we restarted, it was all 12. It was the same situation last time at the Malaysia Open and the British Open. We played in a happy way. But it’s unfortunate that we couldn’t control our nerves. We had a lot more pressure than they did. We made some stupid mistakes towards the end. But they kept the pressure on us. Hopefully next time we can get revenge. That’s nice,” Satwick said.

If both players can reach the final in Delhi, the next destination in the international badminton world, they will have a chance. “I’m hungry for more next week. In front of the Indian crowd,” Satwick promised.

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