World Championships bronze medallist Lakshya Sen and the top men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty produced superlative performances to claim their maiden titles at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open on a Super Sunday for the host nation.
While Sen secured his maiden Super 500 title with a stunning 24-22, 21-17 victory over world champion Loh Kean Yew of Singapore, Satwik and Chirag became the first team from the country to win India’s flagship tournament after registering a 21-16, 26-24 result over three-time world champions Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan.
For the 20-year-old Sen, who had claimed his maiden world championships medal in Spain, it was a repeat of last year’s Dutch Open final, but the Indian ensured that he has the last laugh this time around, after the 54-minute summit clash here.
“It was a crucial first game. I was leading and then it became 20-20. But I managed to pull out the first game and it gave me a lot of confidence,” Sen said. “I didn’t come with a lot of expectations in this tournament as I didn’t get a lot of practice after the world championships. But I came into the final with a much better rhythm as I played a few good three-game matches and I played more freely today.” Satwik and Chirag, on the other hand, came into the final with a 1-3 head-to-head record against their fancied opponents, but they showed nerves of steel and saved five game points to overcome the world No. 2 Indonesian pair.
“We couldn’t really get a title or a final last year, but coming to our country and winning a title is a good start to the year,” Chirag said. “It is special to win against our idols. Playing against our comfort zone and winning it in a way that we generally play is something which we will take back from this win.
“It was one of the best game’s strategically…even when we won a medal at Commonwealth Games or Thailand Open title, we stuck to things we were good at, which is attack, but today we won on our defensive game.”
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