Rankireddy-Shetty fall just short at French Open

The Indian duo lost to the top-ranked pair of Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sukamuljo in straight games.

The Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty saw their run at the 2019 French Open Super 750 come to an end in the final after a straight-games loss to the top-ranked pair of Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sukamuljo of Indonesia on Sunday.

The Indian pair lost the match 18-21, 16-21.

Having made the final after a series of impressive wins, the Indians couldn’t prevail against a technically superior Indonesian duo who wrapped up the match in 35 minutes to win their seventh title of the season.

Shaky start

Up against a pair that has been unbeatable in finals this season, the Indians started on a nervy note and let the Indonesians settle in and dictate terms from the beginning. While Sukamuljo showcased an array of smashes to disturb his opponent’s rhythm, Gideon was happily playing the anchor’s role as the duo took an 11-8 lead with just seven minutes into the tie. 

Though Flandy Limpele, the Indian doubles coach, urged his wards to get on the attack and surprise the Indonesians with the kind of badminton that the two had produced so far, neither Rankireddy nor Shetty seemed to come to terms with the situation and were overawed by the occasion, handing the World No. 1 pair the opening game. 

On the heels

The second game, however, was largely different as the Indian pair stayed in touching distance with their opponents till the halfway mark. 

While Rankireddy ensured that he got his returns down the centre of the court, thus cutting off any possible angles for Sukamuljo to exploit, Shetty stuck to the near-court game to keep Gideon guessing with his delicate drop shots. 

But as the match progressed, the Indonesians found a way to break the Indian resistance and soon raced ahead to clinch the tie. The two pairs will be next seen in action at the 2019 Hong Kong Open Super 500 that gets underway from November 12.

Marin surprised

Earlier in the day, one of South Korea’s rising stars An Se Young produced a fine performance to win the women’s singles title with a splendid victory over the reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain.

The 17-year-old won her first-ever BWF World Tour Super 750 title with a 16-21, 21-18, 21-5 scoreline.

Meanwhile, the Olympic champion in the men’s singles, Chen Long of China, faced no such trouble as he went past Jonatan Christie of Indonesia 21-19, 21-12 for his first title of the 2019 season.

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