Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty enjoyed another memorable ‘Evening in Paris’, lifting the French Open badminton crown for the second time with a dominating straight-game victory over Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei and Yang Po-Hsuan in the men’s doubles final on Sunday. The world No. 1 Indian pair had finished runners-up in the French Open in 2019 before winning the title in 2022.

On Sunday, the Asian Games champions outwitted Lee and Yang 21-11 21-17 in 37 minutes to regain the Super 750 tournament title and also win their first crown of the season after reaching the summit clash for the third time in 2023. The Indian duo had finished second best at Malaysia Super 1000, India Super 750 this year, while signing off as runners-up at China Masters Super 750 as well last year.

Satwik and Chirag proved third time lucky and their stellar show this week only reconfirmed chief coach Pullela Gopichand’s assertion that the duo will be the favourites to win Paris Olympics gold.

“It feels really sweet. Paris has always been special for us and we have always played good badminton here and it has been a second home for us. It is a test venue for Olympics but that is still some months away,” Chirag said.

“I would be lying if I say that I am not enjoying that (winning at Olympic venue) but we have won this final. There is another tournament next week, so looking forward to that.” This was the Indians’ seventh BWF World Tour title (Super 300 events and above) and they won it without dropping a single game this week.

Soon after the win, the Indians celebrated in their traditional style with Satwik lifting Chirag in his lap as he had his hands eyeing towards the sky. Satwik also broke into a dance with his racquet.

“It all started from Thomas Cup and it became a habit and it has been a long time since we danced. It is after fourth finals. We just wanted to go and have fun and let them earn points and the match,” Satwik said.

“We wanted to give our 100 percent and enjoy. Even Mathias (Boe) kept telling us to have fun and we got back our rhythm and the momentum changed.” Satwik and Chirag enjoyed a 2-0 head-to-head record against Lee and Yang but the Taiwanese pair has been in the form of their life, having come into the tournament after winning the German Open last week.

“They had some good weeks, they have beaten some good oppositions, and we knew we can’t take them lightly, their ranking might not be high but they have always been a formidable game. So we are happy that we could take that first game and after initial jittery take the second as well,” Chirag said.

Satwik and Chirag were alert and kept a sharp attack and their defence was also rock solid during the short and snappy rallies which they dominated from the start.

Satwik and Chirag forced opponents to commit errors regularly as they sent the shuttle wide and dumped into net twice as the Indians led 11-6 at the break.

Lee and Yang also erred in their serve, while the Indians, mainly Chirag, made sound judgements on the lines. Soon the Indians were 14-6 when Yang sprayed a smash from Satwik to net.

The Indians sprayed a couple of shots to the net as Lee and Yang tried to extend the rallies. But the Indians curtailed their plans, leading 17-9 in a jiffy.

Satwik unleashed another precise smash and then another flat exchange ended with a superb smash from Satwik on the front-court as the Indians grabbed 10 game points.

The Commonwealth Games champions converted on the second chance with Satwik dishing out a cross court smash.

Lee and Yang started on an attacking note after the change of ends to open up a 4-1 lead. With coach Mathias constantly giving instructions from the sidelines, Chirag and Satwik quickly regrouped and made it 3-4.

The Indians restored parity at 5-5 when the Taiwanese botched a flick serve and then dumped one to net. A couple of smash on Satwik’s body earned the Taiwanese a few points but the Indians kept their nose ahead at 8-7 with a barrage of steep smashes.

Lee made some good interceptions on the front court and managed to hold a 11-9 cushion at the interval after the Indians were called for a fault for a double-hit during a rally.

On resumption, Lee and Yang committed another service error as it was even-steven at 11-11. Chirag made another good call, asking Satwik to leave the shuttle at the backline as it was 14-14.

The Indians then piled up the pressure, standing up a bit near the net and stepping up the pace to quickly move to 17-14.

Another body blow from Yang on Satwik gave them a point but the Indians were soon two point away from a win after Chirag produced another smash.

The Indians grabbed four match points when the Taiwanese found the net. Lee and Yang saved one but then sent the next one wide as the Indians celebrated in unison.




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