Rankireddy-Shetty duo creates history in Thailand Open

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty on Sunday became the first Indian pair to win a BWF Super 500 badminton tournament by securing a hard-fought victory over Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen of China in the summit clash of Thailand Open here.
Rankireddy-Shetty duo creates history in Thailand Open
Shetty and Rankireddy with their winners’ medal


The unseeded Indian duo prevailed 21-19, 18-21, 21-18 over the third-seeded Chinese pair after battling hard for an hour and two minutes. It was the first final of the 2019 season for Rankireddy and Shetty. The Indian duo got off to a good start as it broke away from 3-3 early on and opened up a 10-6 lead. But its Chinese opponents kept breathing down its neck and made it 14 apiece. It was a closely fought affair after that and the World No. 16 Indian pair could take a slight edge only at 20-18. Although the Chinese duo narrowed down the gap further to 19-20, the Indians managed to win the crucial point to wrap up the first game.
In the second game, the Indians managed to take an upper hand, having a four-point cushion at 6-2. But the Chinese soon bridged the gap to 5-6 before catching up at 11-11. After the interval, the Chinese combination surged ahead to 13-11 only for the Indians to draw parity at 13 all.
Rankireddy and Shetty then overtook their opponents at 16-14 and then climbed up to 18-16. But the Chinese pair won five consecutive points to take the match to the decider. Although the Indian duo was slow off the blocks in the third game, it managed to level the scores at six all. From there on, the Indians never looked back and kept their composure till the end. The Chinese pair fought back and at one stage, reduced the gap to 18-19, but the Indians looked in no mood to climb down. They went on to pocket two successive points to seal the contest in their favour.

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