Saina, Satwik & Chirag – the bright spots on a bleak day for Team India at the French Open

By: Editor
Date: 23 Oct, 2019
Image Courtesy: GoBadminton
Saina Nehwal in the women’s singles and Satwik Sairaj & Chirag Shetty in the men’s doubles - produced excellent performance to progress to the second round of their respective events at the Yonex French Open on an otherwise bleak day for the Indian contingent. 

Having lost all of the six matches to have been played until that point, including the mixed doubles match that Satwik played with Ashwini Ponnappa, team India was facing the prospect of being blanked out on the second day of the championships in Paris. 
However, Satwik/Chirag produced a stirring performance to take down the Dutch duo of Robin Tabeling & Jelle Maas in straight games.
Satwik/Chirag opened up an early lead in the opening set, but Tabeling/Maas came back to level things up at 12-apiece. The Indian team then took 8 of the next 10 points to have a crack at the game point. While the Dutch team saved three game points, Satwik/Chirag closed out the game at the fourth time of asking to take an early advantage.

The second game also began on a positive note for the Indian team as they raced to a 6-3 lead. And then they consistently staged ahead, while Tabeling/Mass did their best to stay in the contest. Leading 18-14, the Dutch team had their chances of a comeback fast disappearing and the Indian team took four straight points to close the match 21-16 21-14 in just 36 minutes.

Sumeeth Reddy/Manu Attri played an excellent match and definitely had their moments to take the match. After a slow start, Sumeeth/Manu trailed the English opponents 13-18 at one stage but made a good come back to tie the contest 19-apiece. The English duo, however, held their nerve to win the opening game.

The second game followed a similar trajectory with Lane/Vendy leading 12-7 at the halfway mark, only for Sumeeth/Manu to force a comeback and tie the scores at 20-apiece. This time the Indian duo kept their nerve to tie the match at one game apiece. The third game, however, began on a positive note for the English team and they eventually prevailed 19-21 22-20 21-15 in just under an hour.

Saina Nehwal, playing the final match of the day for the Indian contingent, also produced a stirring performance to take down Cheung Ngan Yi of Hong Kong 23-21 21-17 to book her place in the second round.

Earlier in the day, Kidambi Srikanth made an excellent start to his opening round encounter taking the opening game against Tien Chen Chou. But then the Chinese Taipei player made a stirring comeback in the second game to take the second game in an absolute hurry and then also dominated the third game to win the match 15-21 21-6 21-14, to leave the Indian ace still searching for good form following a spate of injury concerns. 

Parupalli Kashyap and Sameer Verma also lost their respective singles matches against Ng Ka Long Angus and Kenta Nishimoto, to leave Subhankar Dey as the only Indian left in the fray in the men’s singles draw. 

In mixed doubles action, Satwik & Ashwini were first up against Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yujung, and despite staying competitive in both games, they lost 17-21 21-18 in a tightly contested match. Sikki Reddy & Jerry Chopra also fought hard in their mixed doubles match-up but went down to Chris & Gabrielle Adcock 13-21 18-21.

Sikki Reddy/Ashwini Ponnappa, both playing their second matches of the day, combined to take on the 5th seeds Lee So Hee & Shin Seung Chan in the women’s doubles contest. Despite a slow start to the match and trailing for much of the game, the Indian duo made a stunning comeback with seven points on the bounce to take the opening game.

The second game started off on a similar note for the Indians, and any hopes of a comeback were promptly snuffed. The third game was a more closely contested affair – at least in the initial exchanges. Once the South Korean duo opened up a healthy lead, they held on to it and closed the contest 21-16 13-21 17-21 in an hour and three minutes.

Elsewhere, Dutchman Mark Caljouw was forced to retire from his men’s singles encounter, where world number #1 Kento Momota had a bit of a scare against Wang Tzu Wei before prevailing 15-21 21-15 21-16. Jonathan Christie & Victor Axelsen also won their respective singles matches to progress into the second round. In women’s singles, Nozomi Okuhara, He Bing Jao, Pornpawee Chochuwong and Tai Tzu Ying were amongst the winners on the second day!

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