Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty stun top seeds to reach semis

Indian men’s doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty stunned top seeds Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi of Japan to enter the semi-finals of the French Open badminton tournament in Paris on Friday.

Seventh seeds Rankireddy and Shetty won 23-21, 21-18 in a quarterfinal match that lasted 49 minutes. It was a superb straight-games win for the Indian pair, who are the only seeds remaining in the men’s doubles event at the Super 750 event.

This was the Indians’ first win over a world No 1 pairing, who they had also beaten at the World Championship in August, where they were the defending champions.

The Indian duo will face the Korean pair of Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho in the semi-finals, who beat the eight seeds in their quarters.

Rankireddy and Shetty are the only Indians left in the fray in the tournament. Kidambi Srikanth, HS Prannoy and Sameer Verma all lost in the men’s singles pre-quarterfinals on Thursday. The doubles pair had beaten the Malaysian pair of Man Wei Chong and Kai Wun Tee 21-16 21-14 in their round of 16 match.

Prannoy and Sameer Verma suffered contrasting losses. Prannoy, a Thomas Cup winner, went down fighting against China’s Lu Guang Zu 19-21, 22-20, 19-21, while Sameer lost 18-21, 11-21 to Thailand’s Kunlavut Vitidsarn.

Kidambi Srikanth lost to Rasmus Gemke of Denmark 21-19 12-21 19-21 in a match that lasted one hour and 15 minutes. He had beaten fellow Indian Lakshya Sen in the first round while Verma had stunned sixth seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting of Indonesia in his opener.

With PTI Inputs

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