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Satwik-Chirag pair aim for title defence

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Jakarta, June 3: Keeping the Olympics in mind, star Indian shuttlers Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will seek consistency as they gear up to defend their doubles title at the Indonesia Open Super 1000 tournament, beginning here on Tuesday.
The top seeded Indian pair, who are among favourites to win a gold at Paris Olympics, have enjoyed a good run this season with four final appearances and two wins (French Open Super 750 and Thailand Open Super 500.) But they found it a tad difficult to negotiate the variety of serves dished out by the Indonesians and Chinese at the Thomas Cup and made early exits from the All England Open and the Singapore Open last week.
Satwik and Chirag, who created history by winning India’s first BWF Super 1000 title here last year, will look to address the slight drop in their level this week when they begin their campaign against Man Wei Chong and Kai Wun Tee of Malaysia.
With the Paris Games less than two months away, the Olympic-bound shuttlers will have just a couple of tournaments — Australian Open and Canada Open —to polish their skills and eliminate any lingering rust before the quadrennial extravaganza.
Pressure will also be on two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu to build her confidence ahead of the Paris Games. The runner-up finish in Malaysia would have boosted her morale, but the meltdown in the decider, after leading 11-3 to eventually lose the final against China’s Wang Zhi Yi, is worrisome.
While top stars such as An Se Young, Chen Yu Fei, Akane Yamaguchi and Carolina Marin skipped the Malaysia Open, the quartet will be vying for top honours this week. (PTI)

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