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Satwik-Chirag enter doubles semifinals of Malaysia Open

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Kuala Lumpur, Jan 12: Star Indian shuttlers Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty reached their second successive semifinal after humbling China’s Ren Xiang Yu and He Ji Ting in straight games at the Malaysia Open Super 1000 tournament here on Friday.
The world number 2 Indian pair, who won the Asian Games gold medal last year, looked in control during the rallies and were also proactive at the net to eke out a dominating 21-11, 21-8 win over world no. 32 Yu and Ting in just 35 minutes.
The second-seeded Indians will face either Korea’s Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae or third seeded Malaysian pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik.
Ashwini Ponnappa and Tanisha Crasto, however, suffered a 15-21, 13-21 loss to Japan’s Rin Iwanaga and Kie Nakanishi in the women’s doubles quarterfinals.
The world no. 24 Indians, who created a flutter after stunning former world no. 1 and twice world champions Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara on Thursday, couldn’t sustain the same performance against the combination of Iwanaga and Nakanishi, going down 15-21, 13-21 in a 39-minute match.
This was the Indian pair’s second loss to the world no. 15 Japanese duo, having suffered a narrow defeat in the finals of the Syed Modi International Super 300 in Lucknow last month.
Ponnappa and Crasto had claimed the Guwahati Masters Super 100, besides reaching the finals in two more events in Lucknow and Odisha last month.
Satwik and Chirag, who had a sensational season in 2023 with six titles, produced a near-perfect game as they were lightening in their exchanges. They inserted pace in the rallies and also mixed things well to make it a one-sided affair.
The Chinese pair, who had played a close straight game match against the Indians at China Masters last year, looked clueless as Satwik and Chirag dished out a masterclass to completely dominate the opening game.
The Indians were 7-0 up in a flash, leaving Yu and Ting to do the catching up act. Satwik and Chirag were 11-2 at the break and quickly closed out the first game.
The Indians continued the momentum after the change of ends, leading 11-4 at the interval.
A return from Chirag gave the Indians 12 match points and they converted it in the second chance. (PTI)

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