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China Masters 2023: Satwik-Chirag go down to World No. 1 Chinese pair, end long winning streak in finals

Published at :November 26, 2023 at 6:23 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : @Blazie_Harsh/Twitter)

M Sudharshan


The Indian pair saved six match points in the decider.

Asian Games gold medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost humdinger of a final to current men's doubles World No.1 Liang Wei Keng-Wang Chang of China. Satwik-Chirag went down in three games (19-21, 21-18, 19-21) at the China Masters 2023. This was the Indian pair's first loss in six finals they have contested this year. With this they end the season on a high and will climb few places in next week's BWF World Rankings.

All the drama was left for the third game with the first two evenly poised. The Chinese world no.1 duo had a smooth start to the opening game winning it comfortably (21-19). On the other hand, Chirag Shetty started the match with a service fault - serving above the waist height. With home support, China cruised ahead in the following game as well with a four-point lead (9-5).

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The match took a turn here with the Indian duo scoring six out of the seven points on offer and with this took a slender one-point lead at the mid-game interval. Satwik-Chirag interchanged roles continuously with both contributing to attack and defence. From here, the Indians did not look back and forced the match into the decider.

Hoping for a change in fortunes, the Chinese duo started the third and deciding game exactly the way they would have wanted. The home team scored five successive points with Satwik-Chirag yet to open account. The Indian pair at times gifted points by going for smashes from the back with the shuttle finding the net. The match continued to rally ahead with Liang and Wang looking for the final kill.

Here's when things turned upside down. From 13-20, Satwik-Chirag saved six match points and were just a point away from leveling score-line. The nerves of finishing the match got over the Chinese duo as they were constantly committing unforced errors. At 19-20, Liang asked for a medical timeout, but the chair umpire refused to halt play and assured the match went ahead without any delay.

With a point to play, Liang and Wang gave their best and with the backing of the crowd emerged victorious. At one point, the match looked completely lost but a late resurgence from the Indian duo brought life into the encounter which lasted for 71 minutes.

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