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Satwiksairaj-Chirag lose to world no.1 pair in China Open semifinal

Shi Tang/Getty Images

The Indian men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty lost to three-time defending champions Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia in the semifinal of USD 700,000 China Open on Saturday, 16-21, 20-22.

This was their eighth successive loss against the world number one Indonesian team.

The Indians started on the front foot, opening up a 7-4 lead, before the Indonesians stepped up their game to take a 11-9 lead into the break. With the Indians playing flat and fast, Sukamuljo came into his own and started dominating the game, the Indonesians moving onto a 14-9 lead before closing the game at 21-16.

Satwiksairaj and Chirag started the second game in much the way they had the first, racking up a couple of quick points to take a 3-1 lead, before the Indonesians clawed their way back to take the lead at the break, 11-10. This time, though, the Indians kept the rallies longer, and slower, and managed to pull away to an 18-16 lead. Sanjaya and Gideon, though, forced their way back into the game, taking it to 20-19, before closing out the game, and with it, the match at 22-20.

This loss notwithstanding, Satwiksairaj and Chirag have had an impressive run in the latter half of this year - they had won their maiden Super 500 title at the Thailand Open in August before reaching the finals at the French Open Super 750 in October, where they had lost to these same opponents.