India’s mixed doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Ashwini Ponnappa stunned Indonesia’s world no 7 combination of Praveen Jordan and Melati Daeva Oktavianti in the opening round of the China Open badminton tournament in Changzhou on Tuesday. World No 26 Satwik and Ashwini showed their grit as they recovered from a mid-game slump to outwit the sixth-seeded Indonesian pair 22-20 17-21 21-17 in a 50-minute match to enter the second round of the USD 1,000,000 World Tour super 1000 tournament.
Jordan and Melati have so far reached five finals, including the 2018 India Open, but they wilted under the relentless pressure created by the Indian pair. Ashwini and Satwik will now face the winner of the match between Japan’s Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo and Ireland’s brother-and-sister combo of Sam Magee and Chloe Magee at the Olympic Sports Center Xincheng Gymnasium here.
The Indian pair had fallen back 4-7 early on but they reeled off five straight points to turn the tables and then held a slender 11-10 advantage at the break. Jordon and Melati, however, build up a huge lead of 18-12 after the interval but the Indian duo slowly erased the deficit and caught up at 20-20 and then sealed the opening game.
In the second game, the Indonesian pair moved ahead from 4-4 to enter the breather with an 11-8 cushion. Jordon and Melati continued to march ahead to eventually roar back into the contest.
In the decider, Satwik and Ashwin changed their tactics and jumped to a 4-2 lead initially. The Indian duo kept things under control, entering the break with an 11-6 lead.
Jordon and Melati tried to make a comeback but the Indian pair kept their nose ahead to shut the doors on their fancied rivals.
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