Thailand Open champions Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty registered one of the biggest wins of their career yet as they stunned world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan at the French Open Super 750 tournament in Paris on Thursday.
The emerging doubles pair, ranked No 11 in the world currently, overcame the No 2 pair from Indonesia 21-18, 18-21, 21-13 in 53 minutes to reach the quarter-finals. This was the second meeting between the two pairs after Satwik / Chirag had run the Indonesians close during China Open last year as well. The Indian pair’s reward for the win over the three-time world champs is a quarter-final clash against Denmark’s Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen.
London Olympics bronze medallist Saina Nehwal and reigning world champion PV Sindhu also stormed into the women’s singles quarter-finals of the $750,000 tournament.
Nehwal moved ahead with a straight-game win over Denmark’s Line Hjmark Kjaersfeldt. The eighth-seeded Indian, who had won the Indonesia Masters early in the year before going through a rough patch, dispatched Line 21-10, 21-11 in 27 minutes.
The two-time Commonwealth Games champion, who had lost in the first round in three successive events, will next take on Korean teenager An Se Young, who had last week knocked out Sindhu in the opening round of Denmark Open.
Nehwal had defeated Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi 23-21 21-17 in the opening round last night.
Sindhu too looked impressive in her straight-games win over up and coming Singapore youngster Yeo Jia Min. In what was the first meeting between the two, Sindhu won 21-10, 21-13 in the round of 16. The fifth seed needed just 34 minutes to wrap things up against a player mentored by her former coach Mulyo Handoyo. In what could have been a tricky second-round game, Sindhu started on the front foot and barely let Jia Min have a look in the opening game that was over in 15 minutes.
Sindhu looked determine, racing to a 6-0 lead before entering the break with a 11-4 cushion. After the interval, it was a one-way traffic as Sindhu sealed the opening game when her opponent found the net.
In the second game, Sindhu continued to dominate the proceedings as she ran up a 7-0 lead. Yeo soon narrowed it to 4-9 but a relentless Sindhu entered the breather with a 11-5 advantage.
The Indian kept things under control and soon surged to a 20-11 advantage. The youngster saved two match points before hitting wide as Sindhu entered the last eight.
Sindhu is likely to take on the world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying in the last-eight match. The Chinese Taipei shuttler faces Kim Ga Eun from South Korea later on Thursday.
With Sindhu’s match going on in the television court, Satwik and Chirag were coming up with a gallant effort to dispatch their fancied rivals in 53 minutes.
The Indian duo moved to a 3-0 lead in the opening game and kept their nose ahead, reaching the break with a 11-7 advantage, despite the Indonesian pair snapping at their heels.
Ahsan and Setiawan jumped from 11-14 to 16-14 with five straight points but Satwik and Chirag clawed back to grab their lead and pocketed the opening game to earn the bragging rights.
The experienced pair of Ahsan and Setiawan, however, took the match to the decider after wining the second game.
The duo grabbed a 10-5 advantage before the Indian pair made it 9-11 at the breather. Satwik and Chirag kept fighting but Ahsan and Setiawan kept their nose ahead.
In the decider, Satwik and Chirag quickly ran up a huge 11-5 lead and kept moving ahead even as Ahsan and Setiawan struggled to make a comeback.
The Indian duo jumped to a 16-6 lead at one stage, a gap the Indonesian combination failed to bridge.
Later Shubankar Dey’s campaign comes to an end in the round of 16. Indonesia’s Shesar Rhustavito overcame the Indian 21-6, 21-13 in just 30 minutes. Dey was the last Indian shuttler standing in men’s singles.
(With PTI inputs)