Satwik Chirag pair lost to Liang Weiken and Wang Zhang in the final and finished as runners-up.

India’s men’s doubles pair Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty took on China’s Liang Weiken/Wang Zhang in the final of the 2024 Malaysia Open Super 1000 in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

The world No. 2 pair lost to the world No. 1 Chinese pair 21-9, 18-21, 17-21. In the third game, Satwik and Chirag took an 11-7 lead. The Indian pair had only one win against the Chinese pair at last year’s Korea Open Super 500, and suffered their third loss to Liang and Wang in four matches.

In fast playing conditions, the Indians dominated the game from the start, increasing their lead to 5-1 with the help of angular returns and precise placement.

While Satwik and Chirag seemed to be in complete control, their opponents were a bit nervous as they staged short, fast-paced rallies consisting of only 5-8 flat shots and fast shots.

The Indians had a seven-point advantage when China found the net.

The targeted return of the Indians often cramped the Chinese patrolling the forecourts. The Indians quickly took an 18-9 lead and grabbed the opening goal with Liang’s wide and long shot.

After the change of ends, it was time for the Chinese pair to extend their lead to 8-2 as the Indians missed their mark multiple times. Satwik also made a service error when the Chinese duo led 9-5, and Chirag mistimed his return to serve, giving Liang and Wang an 11-6 advantage.

This match didn’t see many smashes as neither pair attempted to lift and kept the shuttle flat during the rally. The focus was on finding gaps and angles without sacrificing pace.

After the restart, the Indians began to draw out mistakes from their opponents and extended their lead to 15-17. Satwik’s short serve gave the Chinese player two game points, and Liang sealed it with a deadly return and roared back into the match.

The deciding match began with the same breathtaking speed, with the Indians leading 4-2 after Liang was called for a service fault from height.

Back on the winning side, the Indians looked spooky again, waltzing in with quick points to go up 10-3 and take four points at the final break.

Sirag was great at the net, pouncing on the slightest weakness, but things started to change after the restart, as Wang stepped forward and dominated the front court, quickly tying the score at 12-12 with a flick serve. .

Satwick looked a little wobbly at the end as he conceded a few points with a flat push. In one such scene, China extended their lead to 14-13 for the first time when Satwik went wide on a flat exchange.

Liang, who had seemed a little calm so far, regained his composure as soon as the Chinese team took a 19-16 lead.

A fake cross-court drop shot earned the Chinese four championship points. The Indians saved one person before the Chinese shut down hope.

It was another brilliant performance by the Indian pair, who won their first Super 1000 at the Indonesia Open in June last year.

Satwik and Chirag will next compete in the India Open Super 750 tournament starting in New Delhi on Tuesday.

With input from PTI

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