Indian national men’s doubles champions Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy might have bowed out in the semi-finals of the Australian Open 2018 but not before putting up a valiant effort against the top seeds Berry Angriawan and Hardianto Hardianto. The Indian pair, seeded third at this Super 300 tournament, eventually went down 17-21, 15-21 in a 39 minute battle.
How tough the Indians made it for their higher seeded Indonesian opponents is perhaps demonstrated the best in a 91-shot rally that the two teams played, with the latter leading 9-4 in the second game.
The Indians were on the backfoot at the beginning of the rally and kept on defending tirelessly. The two then upped their pace and masterfully converted defence into attack, that made it a stunning rally to watch.
In the end, however, they failed to douse the fire of the Indonesians and the patient top seeds won the rally when Reddy erred on a drop shot.
Despite the loss, their performance exhibited the confidence that the Indians have gained in the past couple of weeks after struggling for quite a few months. Since reaching the quarter-finals of the India Open in early February, they could not cross the first hurdle in their next four tournaments and were on a five-match losing streak when they arrived at the New Zealand Open last week.
They reached the quarter-finals in Auckland and then followed it up with a semi-final appearance in Sydney this week, showing so many flashes of the form that had taken them to the India No. 1 position once. In fact, Attri and Reddy were the best performing Indians at the Australian Open as India’s singles campaign had already got over in the quarter-finals.
The result will also propel the former World No. 17 pair back into the top 25 of the world rankings next week.