India’s seventh seeds in the men’s doubles event Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty endured an opening game loss, but came back strong to win their first round of the French Open Super 750 on Tuesday, at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris.
Satwik-Chirag came up with a 19-21, 21-9, 21-13 win over France’s Popov brothers, Christo and Toma Junior, in a match that lasted 68 minutes. Later in the night, Saina Nehwal bowed out against Germany’s Yvonne Li 21-13, 17-21, 19-21 in a 57-minute battle.
In the first ever meeting between the men’s doubles pairing, it was the home pair who rallied back from an early four-point deficit to take the first game 21-19 against an Indian pair that was instrumental in their country winning the Thomas Cup earlier this year.
But the world No 8 ranked team came back well, exposing the gulf in class between the two sides by taking the second game 21-9, and then overcoming a brief period of resistance from the French, to win the third 21-13.
In the second round, they will play Malaysia’s Man Wei Chong Man and Tee Kai Wun.
The Indian duo are at one of their favourite events. It was here at this tournament in 2019 that the Indian rising pair made a stunning run to the final, defeating the likes of Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan, Kim Astrup-Anders Rasmussen, Hiroyuki-Endo Watanabe on the way, before losing to the Minions in the title clash. All three of those wins were against top-10 pairs of that time and it was a run that played a big role in their careers.
Earlier in the day, in the first match featuring Indian players, Ishaan Bhatnagar and Tanisha Crasto lost out to Japanese duo Kyohei Yamashita and Naru Shinoya 21-13, 21-16 in the opening round mixed doubles match.
Later, Gayatri Gopichand and Treesa Jolly were in action in the Round of 32 women’s doubles match. They would come up against sixth seeds Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai of Thailand. The younger Indian duo did well to hold on to their opponents, but eventually lost out in a tight, 54-minute match 23-21, 22-20.
Later on Tuesday, former world No 1 Saina Nehwal took world No 27 Yvonne Ll of Germany. Nehwal had a 1-0 record over Ll, winning their only meeting 21-16, 21-14 in the opening round of the Barcelona Spain Masters in 2020. And she took the lead in the match, taking the opening game 21-13. but the German fought back to force the decider.
In the third game, Li had a 11-8 lead in the interval but Nehwal kept fighting back. The scores were 11-11, 13-13, 15-15 and Nehwal even pulled ahead 19-17. But Li won four points in a row from there to close the match out.