India’s young badminton stars had mixed luck in their respective international campaigns as top doubles combination of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy went down against world number one Kevin Sukamuljo and Marcus Gideon 21-11, 26-24 in the French Open Super 750 while Kaushal Dharmamer bagged his first international title in Israel.
With the Indian singles challenge in French Open coming to an end on Friday, all eyes were on Satwik and Chirag on the penultimate day. And though the task of beating the world number one Indonesian combination was never going to be easy, the world number 25 Indian pair had definitely raised the hopes with their performance in the earlier rounds.
But Chirag and Satwik clearly struggled to find their rhythm in the opening game and allowed the Indonesians to open up a 6-0 lead. Though the Indians clawed back to reduce the lead to about three points at one stage, they were never really in the game.
The change of ends seemed to have brought a change in fortune for the Indians as they were first to get off the block and took a 6-1 lead before the Indonesians came back open up a 11-9 lead at the mid game interval.
But the Indians were not willing to give up this time around and unleashed an array of booming smashes to nose ahead by a point.
The experienced Indonesian combination always ensured that they never lost sight of their opponents and claimed their first match point at 20-19. Satwik and Chirag managed to save three of those and earned two game points themselves but they could not finish the big points and ended up on the losing end after a 42 minute encounter.
The way they fought in the second game and saved three match points showed that the Indian pair is progressing fast and should challenge for those big titles soon.
Big break for Dharmamer
Earlier in the day, Shetty’s academy-mate in Mumbai Kaushal Dharmamer clinched his first international title upsetting top seed Miha Ivanic of Slovenia 21-10, 14-21, 21-18 in the Hatzor International.
The 22-year-old from Mumbai came into the final without dropping a game and maintained the momentum in the final.