Home News Satwik-Chirag aim for title defence at Indonesia Open

Satwik-Chirag aim for title defence at Indonesia Open

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Keeping the Olympics in mind, star Indian shuttlers Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty will seek consistency as they gear up to defend their doubles title at the Indonesia Open Super 1000 tournament, beginning, here on Tuesday.

The top-seeded Indian pair, who are one of the favourites to win gold at the Paris Olympics, have enjoyed a good run this season with four final appearances and two wins (French Open Super 750 and Thailand Open Super 500.) But they found it a tad difficult to negotiate the variety of serves dished out by the Indonesians and Chinese at the Thomas Cup and made early exits from the All England Open and the Singapore Open last week.

Satwik and Chirag, who created history by winning India’s first BWF Super 1000 title here last year, will look to address the slight drop in their level this week when they begin their campaign against Man Wei Chong and Kai Wun Tee of Malaysia.

With the Paris Games less than two months away, the Olympic-bound shuttlers will have just a couple of tournaments — Australian Open and Canada Open– to polish their skills and eliminate any lingering rust before the quadrennial extravaganza.

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Pressure will also be on two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu to build her confidence ahead of the Paris Games.

The runner-up finish in Malaysia would have boosted her morale, but the meltdown in the decider, after leading 11-3 to eventually lose the final against China’s Wang Zhi Yi, is worrisome.

While top stars such as An Se Young, Chen Yu Fei, Akane Yamaguchi and Carolina Marin skipped the Malaysia Open, the quartet will be vying for top honours this week.

Should Sindhu win her opening round against Wen Chi Hsu from Chinese Taipei, she would be up against familiar foe Marin, who had beaten her in the pre-quarterfinals last week.

India’s top players in men’s singles HS Prannoy and Lakshya Sen will also hope for a deep run into the event to receive the ideal boost in the build-up to the Paris Games.

However, it will be a tough test of their temperament as some big guns stand in their way in the Super 1000 tournament.

Lakshya, who sneaked into the Olympic qualification with back-to-back semifinal finishes at the French Open and All-England Championships, will begin his campaign against Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama. If all goes well, he will once again square off against reigning Olympic champion and top seed Viktor Axelsen in the quarterfinals.

The Dane had got the better of Lakshya last week.

Prannoy, who has been troubled by health issues this season, will be eager to find his footing. He takes on compatriot Priyanshu Rajawat in the first round.

Former world No.1 Kidambi Srikanth, Kiran George and Rajawat are also in the fray and will be keen to have a good run.

While Srikanth will face Chico Aura Dwi Wardoyo, George is pitted against China’s Weng Hong Yang.

In women’s doubles, Tanisha Crasto and Ashwini Ponnappa, who have qualified for the Olympics, will begin their campaign against the Canadian pair of Jackie Dent and Crystal Lai, while Treesa Jolly and Gayatri Gopichand take on Cheng Yu-Pei and Sun Yu Hsing of Chinese Taipei.

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