Satwik/Shetty in SFs, as Sindhu & Saina Exit French Open 2019

By: Editor
Date: 26 Oct, 2019
Image Courtesy: GoBadminton
Three titantic battles, two hard-fought exits and one sensational win – that was the day for Team India at the French Open 2019, as QFs action reverberated across the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris.

For all the other disappointment, Satwik Sairaj & Chirag Shetty produced an epic performance full of drama to make it to their second super series semi-final of the year. They defeated the more fancied Danish opponents Kim Astrup & Anders Rasmussen in straight games 21-13 22-20 to keep the Indian challenge alive.

Having made a confident start in the opening game, Satwik/Shetty opened up a 11-6 lead by the halfway mark, and then consolidated the lead to win the game comprehensively. The second game as a lot tighter with the experienced Danish team making an aggressive play and deliberately keeping a high tempo. Three service errors for Chirag, with two of them coming in a row didn’t really help matters either and the nerves were clearly flaying towards the business end of the game.

Trailing 12-16 at one-point Satwik/Shetty needed something special to force a comeback and prevent a third game, and they did so with a four-point streak to tie the contest. But then the Danish team managed to reach a game point and a third game looked inevitable. However, another four-point streak culminating in Chirag managing to both hold his nerve & serve meant that the Indian duo progressed to the semi-finals. 

They will take on Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe for a place in the title clash on Sunday.

Meanwhile, it was Saina Nehwal who was first on court, against 17-year old South Korean An Se Young who made quite the confident start against the more experienced opponent. Saina, however, kept up the pressure and fought hard to first tie the game at 15-all, and then again at 20-all – but couldn’t quite close the game in her favour. 

The second game followed a similar trajectory, with Young making a quick start only for Saina to come right back into it with all her grit & fight.  At 20-all, Saina looked like she had a chance of forcing a decider but then the 17-year old kept her composure to win 20-22 21-23

PV Sindhu was the last Indian to take to the court on QFs day, as she squared off against Tai Tzu Ying. The opening game was on an even kneel, with the world number #1 edging just ahead of Sindhu. At 17-16 in Tai’s favour, it was still anyone’s game, and Tai found just the resolve to take the game with four points on the bounce. 

The second game was an even tighter affair, with nothing separating the two gladiators on court. At 18-all, both Tai & Sindhu had their chances, but a controversial challenge overruled on the next point game Tai the match point. Sindhu summoned all her resolve to save the match point and force a game point herself. 

And then what ensued was a bit of Jekyll & Hyde from Tai Tzu as she kept conceding game points with an error only to turn around and save them with a stunning winner. Sindhu, at long last, prevailed and took the game 24-26 – forcing a decider. 

In the deciding game, both players made a good start before Sindhu had a bit of an injury concern as she twisted her ankle – and never quite looked comfortable after that. However, that never quite stopped her from chasing the shuttle down and keeping up the pressure on Tai Tzu. Eventually, in a gladiatorial contest lasting over an hour and 15 minutes Tai Tzu Ying prevailed over the world champion to win 21-16 24-26 21-17.

Tai Tzu will take on Carolina Marin for a place in the finals, as the Olympic Champion won a hard-fought battle herself against the number six seed from Thailand Ratchanok Intanon over three very entertaining games. Marin took the opening game, only for Ratchanok to come storming back and force a decider. 

The decider was a competitive affair with both players within a shout of the semi-final at 14-all. Carolina Marin suddenly found an extra gear as she reeled off seven points on the bounce to take game and the match 21-18 17-21 21-14.

In the men’s singles, Kento Momota suffered a surprise exit against Anthony Ginting, who will take on Chen Long for a place in the finals. In the second semi-finals Jonatan Christie prevailed over Anders Antonsen in an epic clash, coming from a game down to win 17-21 21-19 21-16 and will take on Viktor Axelsen in the semis.

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