India’s rising doubles pairing of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty beat China’s Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen 21-19, 21-15 in 43 minutes to enter the semi-finals at the China Open on Friday.
Standing in the way of Satwik-Chirag and their third World Tour final appearance of the year will be top seeds Marcus Fernando Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
The Indian pair hardly put a foot wrong in the hard-fought first game. They were tactically better and led all the way. The Chinese pair made took it close at 17-17 but Satwik-Chirag found a way to pull ahead at crucial moments.
They had two game points and needed just one to clinch the game, 21-19 in 20 minutes.
Most were expecting former world champions Li and Liu to come hard at the Indians in the second game but Satwiksairaj and Shetty were more than up for the challenge.
Both pairs were neck-to-neck at 12-12 but thereafter, the India duo pulled away with some clutch shots under pressure.
The Indian pair took the second game 21-15 as the crowd was stunned into silence.
It was their second win against the Chinese pair this year after a three-game win in the final of Thailand Open. This time the Indians won in straight games and in the backyard of the experienced shuttlers.
Following their win, Satwik-Chirag are set to reach their new career-high ranking and break into the top 8 of the world rankings.
Satwik and Chirag, who had won their maiden Super 500 title at the Thailand Open in August before reaching the French Open final last month, are the lone Indians left in the tournament.
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