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02 Mar, 2021
Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy/Ashwini Ponnappa caused the biggest upset of a truncated day one at the Swiss Open 2021, defeating a much-fancied Indonesian pair 21-18 21-10 in 38 minutes of breathtaking badminton from the Indians. Satwik/Ashwini began confidently against Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emmanuelle Widjaja and never looked back after taking a lead in the opening game.
The opening game was a tight contest, with both pairs jostling to outdo the other in the opening exchanges. At the mid-game interval, the Indians had the slightest of advantage at 11-10. Following the break Satwik/Ashwini tried to push their advantage further with two straight points but the experienced Indonesian pair came back to level the game at 16-16. At this point, it could have been anyone’s game and despite leading for most of the contest, Satwik/Ashwini could well have lost the game.
And yet, it’s a testament to their mental fortitude that they held their nerve at the most crucial juncture – winning the opening game 21-18, to assert their early dominance. The game was won, but the match hadn’t been – and the Indians could hardly afford themselves to slip up against the class of the second seeds.
The second game began on the similar trajectory as the first, and Satwik/Ashwin raced to a 5-1, which the Indonesians managed to close down to a 5-4 lead. But that was as far as the Indians would let Hafiz Failzal/Gloria Emanuelle, as they galloped their way to victory in 38 minutes.
For Satwik/Ashwini there couldn’t possibly be a bigger test in the opening round, and they have shown that on their day, they can beat the very best. They face another Indonesian pair in the second round Rinov Rivaldy/Pitha Haningtyas who overcame the Dutch challenge in their opening match-up.
Meanwhile, Sikki Reddy/Pranav Jerry Chopra came-off second best against the English pair Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith. A tough opening game went in favor of the English pair, and then they managed to press home the advantage in the second one. A score line of 21-18 21-15 – clearly doesn’t do justice to their performance on the day.
All the other seeds in the Mixed Doubles draw also made a safe passage into the second rounds with French pair Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue winning in straight games; while Malaysians Chan Peng Soon, Russians Rodon Alimov/Alina Davletova, and Germans Mark Lamfus/Isabel Herttrich – all coming through in three-game encounters.