Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty duped King-Chang to reach Korea Open final

Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty defeated China’s Liang Wei Keng-Wang Chang for the first time in three matches in a dazzling display of power hitting and deft placement to win the Korea Open semifinals.

The Indians, who have won the Swiss Open, Asian Championships, and Indonesia Open all this year, will compete against top-ranked Fajar Alfian and Muhamad Rian Ardianto in the final.

The World No. 3 Indians are seeking to win back-to-back championships in Yeosu, Korea, after the Super 1000 in Jakarta. They are currently on a nine-match winning streak.

Even though the Indians are known for their extremely hard hitting, Saturday was all about stirring up chaos in the Chinese ranks by hitting crossstrokes through the middle.

Despite having 27 victories from 34 matches this year, including victories in the Thailand and India Opens, the Chinese team struggled to stave off the Indian assault on the day.

The Indians were utterly dominant in their 21-15, 24-22 victory in 40 minutes, despite the fact that the previous two matches at the All England Round 2 and Malaysian semifinals had required three sets.

Pullela Gopichand, who was the coach on the day, said that although the game had been close at All England as well (21-19 in the third), Chirag and Satwik are now a much better partnership and have grown. They are hitting harder than anyone else and playing to each other’s strengths, he continued.

The Indians pulled away at 11-8 to establish themselves a 15-9 advantage, from which the Chinese never recovered, and this set the tone for the triumph in the opening set. Chirag had a string of successful interceptions. Gopichand said, “I haven’t seen anyone hit a backhand crosscut block from the net twice that he hit.

The Indians are difficult for opponents to get past because Shetty is hitting hard with big, steep smashes without much of a backlift or follow-through.

There is anticipation, and he charges quickly, but opponents are finding it difficult to get past the Indians. And if they cross over to Shetty, Satwik is waiting there with his own significant assault. The Indians simply had more strength, and the attack was horrific. “According to the way they were performing, they deserved to win by a larger margin, Gopichand continued.

The Indians took an early lead of 19-11, and another Shetty interception gave them the opening score of 21-15.

The Chinese appeared to be following the same course in the second quarter, as their gap matched the score of 11-8. With his cross, Satwik would take control at this point. After the score reached 14-9, the Chinese recovered, and Liang scored some jump slams to force the Indians back and away from the basket, where Shetty was destroying the Chinese defense.

With Liang snatching every opportunity at the net, the Chinese, who had been pinned back, would close the gap against the Indians to one point, 17-16. Chirag and Satwik both ended up serving short to waste match points, putting pressure on the Indian serve.

The Chinese were closely pursuing but were unable to sufficiently establish their own set point to scent a decider. After a flick serve, Satwik was able to convert the fourth match point when his push tripped over a net cable.

The Indians may have encountered difficulties in the semifinals, but they are pure monsters in the championship game. On the Tour, they haven’t dropped a championship in a long time. Despite having a 2-2 head-to-head record against Alfian-Ardianto going into Sunday in Korea, Satwik-Chirag had won the last two matches, including the quarterfinals in Indonesia, during their title run. Indonesia plays a fast-paced flat style, but the Indian onslaught has been unbeatable recently.

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