Asian Games gold medallists Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy fought hard but could not get the better of world champions Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae of South Korea in the men’s doubles final of the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2024 at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Sunday.
The Indian combination went down 15-21, 21-11, 21-18 in an hour and five minutes to finish runners-up in the BWF Super 750 badminton tournament, organised by the Badminton Association of India.
Reflecting on the result, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy said, “We started off quite well in the first game but in the second we couldn’t really start well, and in no time we were down by 11-5. From then on, it was quite difficult to come back and yes they (Kang and Seo) were quite a formidable defensive pair. Overall we are sad, losing the final in our home tournament but there are a lot of positives, the last two weeks have been really good. We are still hungry and are not satisfied. We will start off again in the next few days for All England and French Open.”
Earlier, China’s Shi Yu Qi ended his two-year wait for a title when he ended the dream run of Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu 23-21, 21-17 in the men’s singles final.
“This victory in 2024 holds immense significance for my career. Given the prestigious nature of this tournament and the fact that it took place in India is a stroke of good fortune for me. There were many challenging moments & difficulties but the unwavering support from my team is a key catalyst to my win,” expressed Shi Yu Qi on the prominence of his win today.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei clinched the women’s singles crown with a 21-16, 21-12 victory over Chen Yu Fei of China 21-16, 21-12.
“I was feeling a bit nervous, but while I was playing, I got a lot of support from the audience, which made me play well in today’s match. After the quarter finals there was very less time for practice and preparations so I didn’t have much of it. All the things got resolved in the court itself,” commented Tai Tzu Ying after her victory.
Japan’s Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara were crowned Women’s Doubles champions after defeating Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu of China 21-12, 21-13 while Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai clinched the Mixed Doubles title with a 21-16, 21-16 victory over World No. 5 Chinese combination of Jiang Zhen Bang and Wei Ya Xin.
But it was the men’s doubles final that kept everyone on the edge as the match swung either way.
The second-seeded Indians, who had won the title in 2021, started the match with an attacking approach. Playing with the wind, Chirag and Satwik engaged their opponents in flat exchanges. Though the Koreans managed to keep pace with them till 7-7, the Indians slowly but surely pulled away with Chirag dominating the net exchanges to pocket the opening game.
The tables were turned in the second as the Indians committed quite a few errors trying to attack the serve and quickly fell behind 1-5. Left-handed Seo managed to leave Chirag and Satwik flag-footed on a couple of occasions with his deceptive cross-court drives as the Koreans clinched nine straight points from 7-5 and then maintained that momentum to force the decider.
In the final game, the Koreans were again quick off the block and changed ended leading 11-6. This is when the Indians began their fightback with Chirag once again attacking the net with much more precision.
The Indians, who had finished runners-up last week in the Malaysia Open, managed to close the gap to 18-19 and raised hopes of yet another come-from-behind win over the world champions. But Seo’s cross-court push to Satwik’s forehand helped the Koreans earn their first match point and they made no mistake in wrapping things up on the very first attempt.
“We were not good at speed in the beginning but later we worked on our actions and attacking portions, which eventually led to our win. We did not get nervous with the cheering crowd, as we have already played in similar situations before and we have had enough experience playing in similar environments. The opponent had good skills in the attacking portions as well, so we played 1 point at a time and made sure that we didn’t get nervous about it,” stated Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae after the final.
With a prize pool of USD 850,000, the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2024 witnessed the participation of 247 shuttlers from 23 countries who enthralled the fans with their captivating performances.