Dubai: Buoyed by a vociferous crowd, India’s rising stars Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy cruised into the semi-finals of the KhiladiX.com Dubai 2023 Badminton Asia Championships at Al Nasr Club on Friday.
The Indian duo, the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games men’s doubles champions, shocked the experienced Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, the former All England and world champions in straight games 21-11, 21-12 and ensured themselves of a medal for the first time.
“We didn’t expect to win this easy. Playing against senior players like them, there is no strategy. They can come back at any time; they have that mindset. So from starting onwards, we didn’t take it as pressure and we tried to enjoy every point,” said the 2022 World Championships bronze medallist Rankireddy.
“They are like idols. We have been following them since young age. When we took our racquets, they were already All England champions and world champions. So, we know how they play. But going into the match, we had a strategy with our coach and focus on the service receiving. After injury, the way we are playing it’s a good sign for us.”
Shetty added: “We played some good badminton today. But the job is still not done.”
Highlight of the day
Meanwhile, top seeds Akane Yamaguchi and Anthony Sinisuka Ginting fought back from a game down to enter the semi-finals of the continental championship.
Ginting’s match was the highlight of the day as he smashed his way to overcome the world junior champion Li Shi Feng 10-21, 23-21, 26-24 in a match that lasted for than an hour.
“It was a crucial match for both of us. Overall, I am happy with my performance today. It was no doubt a very tough match,” Ginting, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bronze medallist said.
Meanwhile, former world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore advanced with his first win over Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu in their fourth meeting as he battled past the former Asian junior champion 21-19, 21-19.
In women’s singles, top seed and Yamaguchi was made to toil by the equally talented Wang Zhi Yi, the sixth seed from China, before she pulled of a 13-21, 21-14, 21-17 win over the defending champion.
Tai Tzu impresses
Chinese Taipei’s Tai Tzu Ying too made an incredible comeback in her quarter-final match, showcasing her skills which was laced by deceptive drops and cross court smashes. She pulled out an impressive win over the fifth seeded Chinese HE Bing Jiao 14-21, 21-16, 21-18
“I always had good memories in Dubai. I hope this time also I can make it memorable. I tried to be composed after the crucial second game,” said the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist.
Among other top names, All England Championships champion An Se Young also had to rally from a game to down Indian star P.V. Sindhu 18-21, 21-5, 21-9. It was the Indian’s game win after her 0-6 loss to the Korean. “I think the first game today the way I played; I actually fought her. I should have been a bit more consistent in the second and third games,” said Sindhu on her match today.
“We are very impressed with the quality of the matches at the ongoing championships. It’s our privilege to be associated with this championship and provide our audience with these exciting matches. We are supporting the vision of UAE Badminton Federation to make Dubai a badminton hub, give exposure to its players with competitions and infrastructure. We wish all the very best for the players who advanced to the next level,” Francis Alfred, Managing Director of Sobha Realty, said.