New Delhi,14 January: In an edge-of-the-seat encounter, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty overcame reigning world champions Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae of Korea in a dramatic match to storm into the Malaysia Open doubles final in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.

Satwiksairaj and Chirag, second in the world badminton rankings, got the better of the world No. 3 Korean pair by a 21-18, 22-20  in a semi-final of fluctuating fortunes in which the Indian pair saved six game point before emerging winners.

With the win, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty also became the first Indian pair to reach the final of the Malaysia Open - a BWF Super 1000 tournament.

Relying on their attacking game, the Indians raced to a 5-0 lead in quick time. The Koreans fought back to reduce the gap to just one point but the Indians managed to keep the lead. Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae did save two game points but couldn’t stop their rivals from taking the crucial lead.

The Koreans showcased more creativity in the second game and pulled the momentum back in their favour. They engaged in longer rallies to take a five-point lead at the interval and looked poised to draw level with a handy 20-14 lead.

However, Satwiksairaj and Chirag pulled off an incredible comeback to deny Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae by saving six game points. They rattled the Korean pair with quick and flat returns and sealed the contest by winning the final eight points in a row.

This was the Indian pair’s fourth win over Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae in six meetings.

The Indians will take on the winner of the match between world No. 1 Liang Wei Keng-Wang Chang of China and Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi of Japan, ranked seventh, in the final on Sunday.

Results at the Malaysia Open will count towards players’ qualifying rankings for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

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