The top-ranked Indian pair in men’s doubles, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty, crashed out in the opening round of the Malaysia Masters Super 500 event on Tuesday.
Up against the local pair of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi, the Indian duo bowed out 15-21, 21-18, 15-21 after just under an hour in their first competitive match of the new year.
Fresh from their successful 2019 season, where they won the Thailand Open, Rankireddy and Shetty were expected to go far in the year’s first big-ticket tournament.
Having been excluded from the Badminton Association of Malaysia’s future plans recently, it looked like Yew Sin and Ee Yi were out to prove a point. Banking on their fine court movements and sharp shots, the Malaysians raced to an 11-8 lead at the mid-game interval.
Though the Indians rallied well and drew parity at 12-12, they were soon caught wanting as the Malaysians raced to 19-13 before wrapping up the game 21-15.
The second game, however, saw the Indian duo getting into their elements as they increased their intensity. And though the Malaysians did well to stay within touching distance, the Indians soon shifted gears to pocket five straight points to establish a 15-10 lead. And despite the Malaysians’ desperate attempts thereafter, they lost the second game 15-21.
The third game was expected to be more fierce, but the Indians had already emptied their tank saving the second. Yew Sin and Ee Yi took advantage of the same to race to a 4-0 lead early on before leading 11-9 at the break. The Indian duo kept the fight until 15-17 before the Malaysians won four consecutive points to wrap up the tie
Subhankar starts on a faulty note
India’s first match of the day at the Malaysia Masters saw Subhankar Dey taking on local favourite Daren Liew, and the result was a hint of things to come later in the day. Dey was always struggling to keep up with Liew’s pace and consequently let him take four consecutive points on two occasions in the first game.
After Liew won the first game 21-15, Dey was expected to turn on the heat but the Indian seemingly gave up. The Malaysian was quick to race to an 8-4 lead and then maintained his hold throughout the match to register a 21-15, 12-15 win.
Lakshya Sen goes down fighting
Indian badminton prodigy Lakshya Sen, who ended 2019 by winning the Bangladesh International, fell to defeat against Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus.
Though Sen showed promise to win the first game 21-11, he then surrendered a 15-9 lead in the second to lose the game 17-21.
Vittighus didn’t leave the momentum thereon, as he won the decider 21-14 to seal the triumph in less than an hour.