After a thrilling run that took them to their first BWF World Tour Super 750 final, India's Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty's run came to an end in the final of the French Open in Paris on Sunday. The Indians lost to World No. 1 pair Marcus Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya of Indonesia 18-21, 16-21.
The Indonesians controlled the pace of the game from the off, not allowing the Indians to pull off their aggressive strokemaking that had gotten them into the final. Indeed, it was the Indonesians who went pedal-to-the-metal as they raced to a 7-1 lead early in the first game.
Satwiksairaj and Chirag, though, have shown an ability to keep their nerve under great pressure and fought back to pull it back to 11-8 at the break. Every time the Indonesians seemed to be pulling away with the game, the Indians hung in there. At the end, though, the class of the world's top doubles team decided the opener 21-18.
The second game followed a near identical pattern, a lead of 5-2 cut back to 11-10. Errors soon crept into the Indians' games, though, and Gideon-Sanjaya pulled out to a four-point lead at 16-12, a lead they never let go of as they took the game 21-16 to seal the title.
Satwiksairaj and Chirag may have lost on the night, but it's evident they are making advancements in their game. Having made the quarters of this tournament in 2017 and the semis in 2018, this progression to the final was in keeping with their incremental pattern of improvement.
The Indonesians have now played 28 BWF World Tour/Superseries finals and won a quite remarkable 25 of them. This stat testifies to the caliber of the opponents that the Indians, unseeded at this event, faced.
Meanwhile, here's how the other finals (all but one of which went the distance) ended --
Women's Singles winner- An Se Young
An Se Young, all of 17 years old, came from a game down to beat a rampant Carolina Marina 16-21, 21-18, 21-5 in an incredible final.
Men's Singles winner- Chen Long
Defending champion Chen Long eased past Jonatan Christie 21-19, 21-12 to retain his French Open crown.
Mixed Doubles winners- Praveen Jordan and Melati Oktavianti
Indonesia's Praveen Jordan and Melati Oktavianti came from a game down to beat world no.1 Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong 22-24, 21-16, 21-12
Women's Doubles winners- So Hee Lee and Seung Chen Shin
Yet another comeback win. An all-South Korean matchup saw So Hee Lee and Seung Chen Shin beat So Yeong Kim and Hee Yong Kong 16-21, 21-19, 21-12