KUALA LUMPUR: India’s Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty produced one of the finest fightbacks when they saved six match points in the second game en route to defeating South Korean world champions Kang Min-hyuk and Seo Seung-jae 21-18, 22-20 in the men’s doubles semifinals of the 2024 Malaysia Open badminton championships today.
And their reward is a title showdown against top seeds Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang after the Chinese pair eliminated Japan’s seventh-seeded Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi 21-12, 19-21, 21-13 in the other semifinal.
Having won the first game 21-18, the Indian pair found themselves in dire straits in the second game as the sixth seeds Min-hyuk and Seung-jae held match point at 20-14.
Undaunted, Satwiksairaj and Chirag slowly but surely clawed their way back to level the score at 20-all before sealing a 22-20 win to give themselves a chance to be the first shuttlers from India to win a title in the Malaysia Open.
Chirag later admitted that when they found themselves trailing 14-20 in the second game, they decided to stay focused and take it one point at a time and he is glad that their strategy paid off.
“We are not done yet, we (still) have a lot left in our tank. We aim to showcase more excellent badminton and look forward to tomorrow’s final,” said Satwiksairaj.
Satwiksairaj-Chirag can expect a sterner test from Wei Keng-Wang Chang after the Chinese pair took 50 minutes to down Hoki-Kobayashi.
Wang Chang admitted that their below-par performance in the second game spurred them on to raise their game in the decider.
“Our opponents played well in the second game, but we managed to regain control from the beginning of the final game to secure victory,” he said.
Wang Chang added that they would now analyse Satwiksairaj-Chirag’s game and formulate a strategy to take them down in tomorrow’s showdown.
Based on their head-to-head record, Wei Keng-Wang Chang hold a 3-1 lead over the Indians going into the final.