The final day of the HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament turned out to be a golden day for Indian badminton at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall. For the first time, two titles out of five were captured by the Indian players in a major tournament.
Lakshya Sen stunned newly-crowned world champion Loh Ken Yew 24-22, 21-17 in a pulsating men’s singles summit clash that lasted 54 minutes. This is the first Super 500 title win for Lakshya.
The men’s singles final was definitely the marquee match of the day with two world championship medalists facing off for the fourth time this year.
Lakshya, who won the bronze medal in his debut World Championship last month, was the first to get off the blocks. The 20-year-old Lakshya controlled the rallies brilliantly and put Loh under pressure from the outset.
World No. 17 Lakshya soon raced to a 16-9 lead, and though Loh began to find his rhythm after a while, the Indian looked in total control. With his powerful shots, Lakshya took a five-point advantage at 19-14. But the world champion wasn’t going to fold up and he turned the tables on the Indian star by clinching six straight points to earn a game point.
Lakshya saved two game points in the first game
Lakshya saved two game points in the first game. He also wasted one himself but kept his cool to clinch the second and change ends with a definite advantage.
The second game started on a more even keel as both players engaged in long rallies. The Singaporean upped the pace from the start but to Lakshya’s credit, he was up to the task. The Indian shuttler was patient in the rallies and his opponent made mistakes under pressure.
At the same time, Lakshya was always ready to unleash his big cross court smashes and that ensured that fifth seed Loh could never breathe easily.
Those smashes, one to the left and the other to Loh’s right, clinched Lakshya his championship point and a place in history.
“It was a crucial first game. I was leading and then it became 20-20. But I managed to pull out of the first game and it gave me a lot of confidence,” Lakshya said after the match.
Speaking about the overall tournament, the 20-year-old said, “I didn’t come with a lot of expectations in this tournament as I didn’t get a lot of practice after the World Championships. But I came into the final with a much better rhythm as I played a few good three game matches and I played more freely in the final today.”
Satwik-Chirag upset three-time world champions in men’s doubles final
Satwik and Chirag got the better of top seeds Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan 21-16, 24-22 to bag their second World Tour 500 title. In 2019, the Indian doubles specialists had created history by winning the Thai Open crown.
Satwik and Chirag displayed nerves of steel and even put their more illustrious opponents under pressure with their tactics to clinch the men’s doubles title.
It was only the second time the Indian pair have defeated world No. 2 and three-time world champions in five meetings.
Aware of their opponent’s propensity to play quick points, Chirag and Satwik had a clear gameplan of playing longer rallies. That meant they were prepared to play softer net strokes and even lift the shuttle high to force the Indonesians into making mistakes.
But they were also prepared to counter the top seeds' game of playing flat rallies in the middle at the start and that allowed them to keep pace with the Indonesians at the start. It was on the 15th point in the opening game that they managed to push the rally longer.
Their goal was to tire their senior opponents, and Chirag/Satwik were willing to lose points but stick to the plan. It allowed Setiawan and Ahsan to win a few quick points in the opening game and close the gap at 13-13. But Satwik’s big smashes bailed the Indians out and helped them run away with the opening game.
The second game was a neck-and-neck throw-out as the Indonesians began taking more risks. Even Setiawan tried to go for the big smashes to unsettle the Indians, but to their credit, Chirag and Satwik stood strong in their defense.
However, the Indonesians used all their experience to overturn a 14-18 deficit to earn their first game point. It was a tense affair from there on as both pairs were guilty of making errors while looking for quick points.
Setiawan once served in the net while Ahsan fouled while going for a flick serve on game point. The Indians kept up the pressure with some fantastic shot selections. They ultimately wrapped up the match in 43 minutes, having saved five game points, to begin the new season with a title triumph.
Speaking about the five game points in the second game, Satwik said, “we knew they were tired and would take risks. So, we kept things tight and it worked.”
Chirag, who spent some time practicing his net play after Saturday’s semi-final, said, “We were ready for the way they played today."
Busanan beats Supanida in all-Thailand women’s singles final
Second seed Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand had to dig deep before beating compatriot Supanida Katethong 22-20, 19-21, 21-13 to clinch the women’s singles title.
Thailand’s Benyapa and Nuntakarn Aimsaard defeated Russia’s Anastasiia Akchurina and Olga Morozova 21-13, 21-15 to win the women’s doubles title.
Singaporean husband-wife combination Hee Yong Kai terry and Tan Wei Han upset Malaysian third seeds Chen Tang Jie and Peck Yen Wei 21-15, 21-18 in the mixed doubles final.
4-Benyapa Aimsaard-Nuntakarn Aimsaard (Thailand) vs 3-Anastasiia Akchurina-Olga Morozova (Russia) 21-13, 21-5 (34 minutes)
Hee Yong Kai Terry-Tan Wei Han (Singapore) bt 3-Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei (Malaysia) 21-15, 21-18 (40 minutes)
2-Busanan Ongbamrungphan (Thailand) bt 6-Supanida Katethong (Thailand) 22-20, 19-21, 21-13 (76 minutes)
2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt 1-Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) 21-16, 26-24 (43 minutes)
3-Lakshya Sen bt 5-Loh Kean Yew (Singapore) 24-22 21-17 (54 minutes).
Lakshya Sen's Road To Triumph
First Round: 3-Lakshya Sen bt Adham Hatem Elgamal (Egypt) 21-15, 21-7 (25 minutes)
Second round: 3-Lakshya Sen bt Felix Burestedt (Sweden) 21-12, 21-15 (41 minutes)
Quarterfinal: 3-Lakshya Sen bt HS 8-Prannoy 14-21, 21-9, 21-14 (60 minutes)
Semifinal: 3-Lakshya Sen bt Ng Tze Yong (Malaysia) 19-21, 21-16, 21-12 (67 minutes)
Final: 3-Lakshya Sen bt 5-Loh Kean Yew (Singapore) 24-22 21-17 (54 minutes).
Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty Road To Triumph
First round: 2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt Ravi-Chirag Arora 21-14, 21-10 (35 minutes)
Second round: 2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt Shyam Prasad-S Sunjith (Jr) 21-9, 21-18 (32 minutes)
Quarterfinal: 2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt Hee Yong Kai Terry-Loh Kean Hean (Singapore) 21-18, 21-18 (39 minutes)
Semifinal: 2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt 8-Fabien Delrue-William Villeger (France) 21-10, 21-18 (37 minutes)
Final: 2-Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty bt 1-Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Indonesia) 21-16, 26-24 (43 minutes).