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Satwik/Chirag settles for World Championships bronze

With Lady Luck deciding to not favour the dynamic Indian men’s doubles duo of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in the tense semi-finals of the BWF World Championships 2022 in Tokyo, Japan, it only meant that Satwik/Chirag’s losing streak will continue against Malaysia’s Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, just when it mattered the most.

In a nail-biting 77-minute clash that saw both pairs throw their everything at each other, it was the Malaysian duo of Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik who finally had the last word, winning 20-22, 21-18, 21-16 to enter the finals where Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan a.k.a the Daddies await. Meanwhile, Satwik/Chirag settled for a historic bronze – the very first one for India in men’s doubles at the World Championships stage, with this semi-final loss.

Yet, it was a mixed feeling towards the end as the match was closely contested with the result up for swinging either way but it had to be the World No. 7 pair from India who had to pay the price against the one-higher-ranked Malaysian duo, who served them their 6th straight defeat.

“Maybe we could have pushed in the second game, put more pressure. Maybe our attitude looked like we were relaxed,” Satwik says in the BWF Mixed Zone.

Need for a ‘pooja’ intervention

Heading into the match, Satwik/Chirag knew the odds were stacked against them as they have never been able to win against the Malaysians, similar to how they have never been able to win against the Indonesian duo of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sukamujlo (11-0) – a stat that haunts them.

“Always unfortunate. (We are) unlucky all the time in crucial stages. Even with them (Aaron and Soh) and Marcus and Kevin (the Minions), we are unlucky always,” Satwik, a little amused, mentions post-match.

The match had his moments of confusion from the Indian pair filled with a lot of speedy racquet changes mid-point and what-not!

“So in 17-15 (final game), I thought Chirag’s racquet string is bothering so I said, ‘Go out, go out!’ but he was behind me,” Satwik rues, showing how coordination went missing for a brief second in some points.

“It’s always unlucky situations when we are playing against them and Kevin/Marcus so maybe we should…do a lot more pooja (chuckles) and pray more to God. It was a tough loss but it’s been a good week for us,” he finally gathers, content with the bronze.

We are disappointed as the match was quite close, as Satwik said. The match could have gone either way but for a couple of points here are there,” Chirag, a little dazed from the loss, mentions.

“But we are right up there. We wanted to get a medal and were happy that we could get it,” he quickly says, looking back at the wonderful week that saw them defeating the reigning World Champions Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan on their home soil in the quarters.

With Satwik/Chirag now firmly cementing themselves further as a formidable duo on the tour with a medal from WCH, they will need to quickly find solutions to both the Minions’ trouble and the Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik puzzle – so that the narrative can be changed soon, Lady Luck and pooja and prayers or not.

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