“10-4 Satwik/Chirag,” shouted a fan from the stands.

At that point in the match, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had just drawn level at 4-4 after being 1-4 down in the deciding game of their opening round men’s doubles clash of the India Open Super 750 in New Delhi.

The Indian pair obliged. They added six more points in a row to their tally to lead 10-4 against Chinese Taipei’s Fang-Chih Lee and Fang-Jen Lee.

That nine-point run from 1-4 to 10-4 effectively changed the course of the match, as Rankireddy and Shetty stormed into the second round with a 21-15, 19-21, 21-16 win in a contest that lasted 78 minutes.

“This time we wanted to do well in front of the crowd,” said Rankireddy after the match. At last year’s edition of the event, the pair were forced to withdraw mid-way through the tournament after Rankireddy pulled his left hip adductor.

There seemed to be another fitness concern on Wednesday, with the 23-year-old from Andhra Pradesh showing up on court with a strapped right shoulder. But he did not want to delve much into it.

“It’s a different strategy,” he said. “Opponent will think I am injured, but I am not injured.”

Having flown in to Delhi directly from Malaysia, where they lost the final to Liang Wei Keng and Wang Chang of China on Sunday, Rankireddy and Shetty were devoid of main hall practice before the match. That, however, seemed to have had no impact on their show on Wednesday.

“The scheduling is also such that you can’t really get used to the conditions quickly,” Shetty said after the match.

“But I think we have to get adjusted to it. It’s difficult, but I think we are happy that we could get that first win here and hopefully we go deep into the tournament.”

Having pocketed the first game against rather easily in 20 minutes, the Indians were put under pressure in the second as Chih and Jen raced to an 11-5 lead at the mid-game interval.

Buoyed by some encouraging words from Pullela Gopichand and Mathias Boe from the sidelines, Rankireddy and Shetty tidied up post the break, winning five points in a row to equalise at 12-12.

The Chinese Taipei pair, though, once again raced ahead with a 19-14 lead. Rankireddy put an end to that run of play for Chih and Jen with a powerful body smash leading to a run of points, which reduced the deficit to 18-19, before the world No 24 pair forced a decider.

By now though, the Indian duo are used to overcoming deficits. They got some practice just last week.

Rankireddy explained how the pair trailed in every match they played in Malaysia.

“Every time we win the first game, and in second game…I don’t know, what is going on,” Rankireddy said.

“We are losing five-six points in a row. It happened in Malaysia throughout the five matches, and again [today],” he added.

Rankireddy, who won the title with Shetty in 2022, further stressed that they would have preferred to wrap up the match in the second game, but prefers to look at the decider as “good practice”.

That is a positive way of looking at it. Especially since, as the season goes by, they will come closer to the high-pressure Olympics. That is perhaps when all the practice, albeit inadvertently, could pay off.