By India Today Sports Desk: Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had an unusual slump in the Asian leg of the tour before they arrived at the Istora for Indonesia Open 2023. The top-ranked Indian doubles pair was ousted in the first round of the Singapore Open and the second round at the Thailand Open after a string of ordinary performances at the Sudirman Cup.
Self-doubt had crept in for the young pair, ranked No. 6 in the world. However, at the Istora, where they had dreamt of at least playing a match when they began their badminton journey, Satwik and Chirag came out all guns blazing. Satwik and Chirag went on to become the first Indian pair to win a Super 1000 title, the Indonesia Open.
Satwik and Chirag defeated the World No. 1 pairing of Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto in the quarter-final before overcoming their arch-rivals Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik in the final. Satwik and Chirag had never beaten Aaron and Soh in their previous 8 meetings, but on Sunday, in front of a packed Istora, the Indian pair were on fire.
Playing an aggressive game from the word go, Satwik and Chirag never gave an inch to the Malaysian pair, ranked No. 3 in the world. From dominating at the front of the court to pumping in the smashes with conviction, the Indian pair put on a show for the badminton-loving fans in Jakarta.
"It's a happy performance after a bad month," Satwiksairaj told BWF, recalling the poor run in Singapore and Thailand.
"We'd become lazy, I'd say passive, we thought it's under control. But it wasn't under control. It was a wake-up call for us, the last two tournaments - to be alert, or be smashed in the first round itself. More than winning the tournament, beating them - you don't get it often. When we play next time we'll go all-in like this, so it's a confidence boost going ahead," he added.
AIM WAS TO GET AN ENTRY: SATWIK
Satwik and Chirag had dreamed of playing at the Istora when they were growing up, but on Sunday, they had the opportunity to thrill the fans at one of the biggest stages of world badminton. The Indian duo did not miss the opportunity as they came up with a champion show to win the coveted crown.
Satwik and Chirag are no more dark horses. With consistent victories at the biggest stages of world badminton, the Indian duo are being considered favorites whenever they step on to the court.
"Winning Indonesia was a dream; a lot of legends have played here. At the beginning the aim was to get an entry to play here. From there to winning this tournament has been a long journey, and I love the way we played today," Satwiksairaj said.
The delight was evident with the way Satwik and Chirag celebrated their victory on Sunday. Chirag took off his shirt and gave his racket to a fan in the crowd before attending the medal ceremony.