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Satwik-Chirag pair enters final at Indonesia Open, Prannoy exits in semis

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The Commonwealth Games gold medalist duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, seeded seventh, overcame one-game deficit to win 17-21, 21-19, 21-18

India’s crack doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty fought hard to advance to the final, but it was curtains for HS Prannoy in the men’s singles semifinals of the Indonesia Open World Tour Super 1000 badminton event, here on Saturday. The Commonwealth Games gold medalist duo of Satwik and Chirag, seeded seventh, overcame one-game deficit to beat unseeded Min Hyuk Kang and Seung Jae Seo of Korea 17-21 21-19 21-18 to seal their maiden Super-1000 final berth.

“We feel really good the way we played today. They made a comeback in the third game but we stuck till the end and I am happy that we didn’t run away from our tactics. We stuck to it till the very end. First time we are in a Super 1000 final and so it feels good,” Chirag said after the win.

“They (Koreans) too have a really strong defence, so it was sort of a attack vs defence game. You just can’t blindly attack them. We were mixing it up.”

Asked about Sunday’s final: Satwik responded: “It’s a new day, get back and recover our body first. I was not feeling 100 per cent in the first game. Slowly I got my rhythm in the second game.”

The win also extended their overall head-to-head record over Kang and Seo to 3-2.

World No. 6 pair will now face the winners Pramudya Kusumawardana and Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan of Indonesia and second seeds Aaron Chia and Wooi Yik Soh of Malaysia. The men’s doubles began on an even keel before the Korean pair surged ahead to 6-3 in the opening game.

Once they conceded the lead, Satwik and Chirag were forced to play a catch-up game.

The Indians used their aggressive play to reduce the margin to 15-19 and then 17-20 before Kang and Seo kept their composure to pocket the first game, courtesy an unforced error.

The Indians looked more purposeful after the change of ends and took an early 6-3 lead before racing to 11-4 with a flurry of fast paced shots and body smashes in the second game.

Prannoy played the catch up game from the onset and was never really in for a fight. He showed sparks of brilliance in between, riding on his cross court smashes but Axelsen’s drop shots and court coverage was good enough to help him take a decisive lead in both games.

The script unfolded in the same manner in the both games as Axelsen continued to maintain his upper-hand and pocket the game and match in identical manner.

It was Prannoy’s sixth loss against the Dane in the international circuit as against two wins.

The BWF World Tour is divided into six levels, namely World Tour Finals, four Super 1000, six Super 750, seven Super 500, and 11 Super 300 in order. One other category of tournament, the BWF Tour Super 100 level, also offers ranking points.