Satwik-Sirag loses in Malaysia Open final

Few would have bet on Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty winning the Malaysia Open final as they led 10-3 in the deciding match, especially considering their recent form and run. Then).

India’s Chirag Shetty (left) and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy play against South Korea’s Kang Min-hyuk and Seo Seung-jae in the men’s badminton doubles semi-final at the Malaysia Open (AP)

However, Wei Kenliang and Zhang Wang, who are ranked No. 1 in the men’s doubles world rankings, had other ideas. Known for digging deep, especially in unfavorable situations, the Chinese pair did just that, clinching the Super 1000 title with a stunning come-from-behind victory of 9-21, 21-18, 21-17 in 58 minutes. did. on Sunday at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.

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The top seed achieved what he was unable to do last time when he lost to Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Lian Ardianto in last year’s final, earning his fourth win out of five against a combined opponent from world No. 2 India. I mentioned it.

Despite losing in the final of the $1.3 million tournament, Rankireddy and Shetty won $45,500 more, cementing their place as second in the world with 10,800 points and effectively clinching their spot at the Paris Olympics.

In a battle between the world’s highest-ranked pairs, it was the Indians who drew first blood, overwhelming Wang and Liang, winning the first game 21-9 in just 13 minutes.

The Asian Games champion regularly targeted Liang, looking to draw the big slugger to the edge of the net. Liang, a backcourt player, put too much effort into his shots at the net and made regular mistakes, handing easy points to Rankireddy and Shetty.

After losing the first game, Liang noticed that his racket was falling hard while rushing towards the net, and changed his tactics. After that, Wang controlled the net and developed a natural attack, which tied the score at the end of the second game.

The deciding game looked like a repeat of Game 1, when the Indians ran away with points, leading 8-2 and 10-3. With Shetty and Rankireddy often in the middle of the court, China decided to stick to the basics of keeping the shuttlers in play and attacking the wide lines. Whenever they found an opening, Liang hit the bird from the back and Wang from the front.

Although the Indians were clearly better at the net, the fast conditions made it increasingly difficult to execute tactical plans, as all four men got nervous, especially in the final stages of the high-voltage contest.

Combining caution and attack, the Chinese pair made a sensational comeback, leveling the score at 12-all and winning 14-13 for the first time in the match. By then, the momentum had shifted. Wang and Liang, who reached the final seven times last year, showed class and great skill to repel India’s challenge. Also, very unusually for the usually calm Chinese pair, they didn’t hide their emotions and cheered when they got a point.

After hitting some powerful smashes, Liang faked a cross-court drop from behind to win his first Super 1000 title of the year.

The pair are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Indian Open, which starts here on Tuesday.

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