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BWF World Championships 2022: Satwik-Chirag secures doubles medal for India, Prannoy suffers loss

The BWF World Championships 2022 quarterfinals took place on Friday. Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty assured India of a doubles medal, while HS Prannoy suffered a heart-breaking exit.

badminton BWF World Championships 2022: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty secures doubles medal for India, HS Prannoy suffers loss-ayh
First Published Aug 26, 2022, 1:38 PM IST

On Friday, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty became the first Indian pair to win a medal in the men's doubles event during the 2022 BWF World Championships. However, HS Prannoy's impressive run ended in misery, narrowing down in the men's singles quarterfinals in Tokyo. Satwik and Chirag, the world number seven duo who had claimed the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 gold earlier this month, stunned the local favourites and defending champions Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi. In a three-setter, which lasted an hour and 15 minutes to bag India's opening medal at the prestigious tournament, the Indians won 24-22, 15-21, 21-14.

It is India's second World Championships medal in the doubles event, while Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa had claimed a bronze in 2011 in the women's doubles. Overall, it's India's 13th medal at the showpiece, with PV Sindhu triumphing five, including a 2019 gold, and Saina Nehwal (silver and bronze) grabbing a couple. Kidambi Srikanth (silver), Lakshya Sen (bronze), B Sai Praneeth (bronze) and Prakash Padukone (bronze) happen to be the other medallists.

It could have been a double delight for the country. However, Zhao Jun Peng of China had other plans, breaking the Indian hearts with a 19-21, 21-6, 21-18 triumph over former world number eight Prannoy, going down on a knee with his head swinging in dissatisfaction following the gut-wrenching defeat.

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Earlier, MR Arjun and Dhruv Kapila's fine run had ended after the Indian duo lost 8-21, 14-21 to three-time champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia in another men's doubles quarters. Having assured themselves of at least a bronze, Satwik and Chirag will now battle the sixth-seeded pair of Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia in the semis.

Satwik and Chirag entered with a purpose, dominating the proceedings early to establish a 12-5 lead in the opening game. However, the Japanese pair whirled seven points in a row to eke out a 16-14 advantage. However, the Indian team combated tooth and nail to secure an advantage at the end of the opening game.

Takuro and Yugo made a robust comeback in the next game after breaking off at 9-9 following an intimate action. With the match hanging in the balance, the Indian pair again found its bearings as the couple strengthened their defence, mounting an attack to lead 11-5 at the interval.

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Satwik and Chirag then lengthened the lead to 14-8 before they were called for a fault for handling the net during a return. The duo lost the point but shortly worked to put that behind, gaining a lead of 16-9. Yugo produced some stunning shots, including a strong smash and a cross-court return, keeping the Japanese duo's possibilities alive with three points.

A couple of shots going wide from the Japanese pair put the Indians two points away from the victory at 19-13. The Indians then grasped seven match points with another excellent return, which their competitors failed to deal with. A bit timid, Satwik stuttered on his serve, but Yugo sent the shuttle to the net as Chirag cried in celebration.

In the men's singles, Prannoy had raised hopes of a medal after outwitting two-time former champion Kento Momota of Japan and Indian compatriot and last year's bronze medallist Lakshya Sen. But, it wasn't to be, as the 30-year-old wasted an opening game advantage and a slight 11-10 lead in the decider to again perish in the quarters, especially after his quarters' finish in Spain in 2021.

ALSO READ: BWF World Championships 2022 - Saina Nehwal moves into pre-quarters

Prannoy lost four quick points but soon returned to a nice tempo, constructing angles to trouble his opponent. He clutched a three-point buffer at the break and kept a tight hold on the rallies to prolong his advantage to 19-13 in the opening game. A series of mistakes, including a wide smash and three miscued shots, permitted Zhao to claw back to 19-19. However, the Chinese sent one to the net, and the Indian delivered his trademark forehand return to pouch the game.

The second game was a forgettable affair, with Prannoy looking out of sorts. The Chinese took a monumental 11-1 lead at the break, as Prannoy chose to save his fuel. In the decider, Prannoy looked unsteady but contrived to keep himself in contention with a slight one-point advantage at the intermission.

However, blunders crept into Prannoy's game, as Zhao edged out a 15-12 lead before cruising to 18-13. A 43-shot rally finished with Zhao releasing a smash, as the Chinese momentarily held three match points. Prannoy saved one with a backhand whip before the Chinese begot another winner to discover his dream.

(With inputs from PTI)

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