India’s top men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty overcame the first-round hurdle in 44 minutes by beating Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana of Indonesia in straight games (21-18, 21-19) at the Malaysia Open Super 1000 in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday.
Satwik-Chirag, the world no. 2, claimed the opening game lead at 21-18 despite the Indonesian pair staging a late fightback.
It was a close game at the onset of the proceeding, with Satwik taking time to get into the zone. However, the India pair’s agility and swift exchange of responsibilities forced Fikri and Maulana to fumble several times.
In the second time, the world no. 9 pair started aggressively but their lead was shortlived by Satwik-Chirag’s fighting spirit. However, Fikri and Maulana were always in contention for the second game before Satwik and Chirag cruised to the match point at 20-18.
Even though Maulana managed to defy the Indian pair on the first match point chance, Chirag’s crisscrossing exchanges saw the Indian duo prevailing 21-19 in the first round of the year’s first Super 1000 tournament, the highest level of the BWF event.
Satwik and Chirag will face Lucas Corvee and Ronan Labar of France in the Round of 16.
However, it was a curtain for world no. 8 HS Prannoy, the world championships and Asian Games bronze medallist. Prannoy had to cope with a first-round exit in his men’s singles match, losing to world no. 9 Anders Antonsen of Denmark in straight games.
Prannoy, who was making a comeback after his season came to an end at the Asian Games in October last year, was a shadow of his own as he lost 14-21, 11-21 in 43 minutes.