India’s up and coming doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty continued their breathtaking run at the French Open Super 750 badminton tournament in Paris as they defeated world No 6 Hiroyuki Endo and Yuta Watanabe in straight games on Saturday to reach the final.
Satwik and Chirag, ranked 11 in the world, beat world No 6 Endo and Watanabe 21-11, 25-23 in 50 minutes.
The Indians will take on top seeds Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in the final on Sunday. It will be a second final appearance for the young pair who had their first major breakthrough earlier this year at the Thailand Open.
The first game witnessed a dominant performance from Satwik and Chirag, as they did not let Endo / Watanabe find their footing. The Japanese pair led only once (at 1-0) and from there on it was the Indians all the way.
The second game, however, was a rollercoaster affair. Endo and Watanabe capitalised on a few early errors from the Indians to open a 8-5 lead but Satwik and Chirag stormed back by winning six straight points to take a 11-8 lead into the interval.
After the break, the game started to heat up with all four players playing sensational badminton. It was the Indians who had the first chance to close the match out but Endo / Watanabe saved two match points from 18-20. The Japanese pair would go on to save four in all, including two stunning rallies that they won late in the second game (42 shots and 50 shots) to save a couple of match points.
But the Indians belied their age and experience to display nerves of steel and eventually converted their fifth match point to book a place in the final on Sunday.
Earlier, in the round of 16, Satwik and Chirag registered one of the biggest wins of their career yet as they stunned world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan. The Indians overcame the No 2 pair from Indonesia 21-18, 18-21, 21-13 in 53 minutes to reach the quarter-finals. And in the last eight, they defeated another higher-ranked pair. Satwik and Chirag accounted for the European silver medallists on Friday as they knocked out world No 9 Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen from Denmark 21-13, 22-20 in 39 minutes.