Lucknow: Be it the gritty Chinese, the quick-footed Indonesians or even the robust Danes, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty have shown their mettle against some higher-ranked shuttlers on the men’s doubles circuit over the last two seasons.
The duo’s on-court youthful exuberance has brought many higher-ranked players to their knees, including World No 1 pair Kevin Sanjaya and Marcus Gideon. However, the young duo has always stuttered against former World No 1 Mathias Boe and Cartsten Mogensen.
But, the Indian pair has a great chance to break the jinx at the same event where it all started — the Syed Modi International. Boe-Mogensen and Rankireddy-Shetty are slated to square off in the men’s doubles semi-finals of the World Tour Super 300 event in Lucknow. This will be their fifth meeting at a World Tour event.
The lanky Danes had knocked Rankireddy and Shetty out in the first round in Lucknow last year. The pairs crossed swords at the French Open and All England Championships thereafter and yet, it was the Danish pair that came out victorious, albeit after overcoming the gritty fight put up by the young duo.
At last week’s Hong Kong Open, a similar fate befell Boe and Mogensen, who successfully defended Rankireddy and Shetty’s measured attacking gameplay to make it four wins out of four in the overall head-to-head meetings.
In this year’s edition, after tormenting Thailand’s Inkarat Apisuk-Nipitphon Phuangphuaphet and Shivam Sharma- Hema Nagendra Babu in the first two rounds, the Indian duo was stretched to three games, but managed to eke out a narrow win over China’s Ou Xuanyi-Ren Xiangyu.
“It was a slow start for us. We didn’t gauge the conditions properly in the first game but tweaked our game in the second and third games to turn the result in our favour,” Shetty told Firstpost after the match.
On the other hand, it has been a relatively easy outing for the Danes as they romped past two Indian pairs and the experienced duo of Kim Ji Gung Jung and Lee Yong Dae without dropping a single game in the tournament. The way Boe and Mogensen move around the court to deceive an opponent is poetry in motion.
Looking at how the former World No 1s have carried themselves so far, it’ll take more than just Rankireddy and Shetty’s attacking blueprint to tame the high-flying Danes in the last four clash.
“The shuttles are pretty fast here and all we have to do is keep the shuttle low and create as many openings as possible. If it’s too low, then we must defend well to unsettle them,” said Chirag.
Having lost in straight games in Kowloon last week, Rankireddy is eager to cap the duo’s first win over the Danes. “We already played them before at the Hong Kong Open last week. So, this time we want to win. We lost to them three times already. It’s time we pull one back,” said Rankireddy.
The Danish pair brings 13 years of experience on the table and has a fair idea of the conditions at the Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium in Lucknow.
“We’ve been here many times now. We have adjusted to the conditions here. The shuttles are a little bit faster. It’s more humid and warmer than back home. We’re getting used to it and the results have shown that,” commented Boe.
The London Olympic bronze medallist said that the Danes have the upper hand against the young pair, but they’ll have the home fans to deal with.
“In the men’s doubles circuit, results are unpredictable. It’s always difficult no matter who you play. Rankireddy and Shetty are really talented players and have done well. We’ll obviously enter the match confidently as we beat them in Hong Kong. So, it’s a new match, but we play on their home soil against the fans,” the 38-year-old concluded.
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Updated Date: Nov 24, 2018 14:55:17 IST