Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty reached the men’s doubles final at the Thailand Open on Saturday with an impressive victory against South Korean former world champions Ko Sung Hyun and Shin Baek Cheol.
The Indian pair came back from squandering match points in the second game to win 22-20, 22-24, 21-9 in an hour and three minutes on Saturday.
They will now play their first final at a Super 500 and above level event.
In the first game, Satwik and Chirag, who are the last remaining Indians in the competition, did brilliantly to hold their nerves after their opponents had gotten off to a fast start. The game was neck and neck after the mid-game interval but the Indians stepped up right at the end to take the lead in the match.
The unseeded Indians were down 12-18 in the second game but made a dramatic comeback – winning a thrilling 39-shot rally in the process – to get to match point at 21-20. They squandered that opportunity and then another one at 22-21 as the South Koreans fought back to clinch the game.
Sung Hyun and Baek Cheol had the momentum going into the decider but the Indians simply didn’t give them a chance. They dominated the third game to take a 17-4 lead before the the South Koreans won the next five out of eight points. But the Indians didn’t panic and closed out a memorable win.
The clutch play and composure in nervy moments was a highlight of the match and will serve as a morale booster in the tough test that awaits them in the final.
They will face third seeds Li Jun Hui and Liu Yu Chen in the final on Sunday. The Chinese pair defeated Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe 21-13, 22-20 in the other semi-final on Saturday.
Elsewhere, two-time winner and local favourite Ratchanok Intanon edged a thriller against compatriot Pornpawee Chochuwong to reach the final.
Former world champion Ratchanok, 24, cut Pornpawee’s rousing comeback short as she won in three games 23-21, 17-21, 21-19 in front of a packed home crowd.
In Sunday’s final she will face Chinese top seed Chen Yufei, who is yet to drop a game after beating Sayaka Takahashi 21-16, 21-19.
Ratchanok faced unseeded Pornpawee in a boisterous atmosphere at the Indoor Stadium Huamark as the former world No 1 continued her quest for a third title in Bangkok.
Victory was sheer jubilation for the third-seeded Ratchanok, who had to dig deep as she found herself trailing in the third game before recovering aggressively.
In men’s singles, Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan beat Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia in straight games to reach the final, where he will play reigning champion Kanta Tsuneyama or Hong Kong’s Angus Ng.
The women’s doubles final will see Du Yue and Li Yinhui, the eighth seeds from China, play Japanese seventh seeds Shiho Tanaka and Koharu Yonemoto.