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Olympics: Chirag-Satwik stuns world no. 3 pair; Praneeth loses in opener

Praneeth suffered a 17-21 15-21 loss to world number 47 Misha Zilberman

OLYMPICS-2020-BDM/M-DOUBLES-GP Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy in action against Lee Yang of Taiwan and Wang Chi-Lin of Taiwan during the doubles group match at the Tokyo Olympics | Reuters

The Indian men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty shocked the world no. 3 pair of Yang Lee and Chi-Lin Wang of Chinese Taipei in a thrilling group A match of the Olympics badminton competition where the country experienced disappointment in the singles' event on Saturday.

Chirag and Satwik, the current world no. 10, notched up a stunning 21-16 16-21 27-25 win over third seeds Lee and Wang, who had claimed back-to-back titles at the Yonex Thailand Open, Toyota Thailand Open and BWF World Tour Finals in Thailand earlier this year.

However, 13th seeded B. Sai Praneeth suffered a demoralising 17-21 15-21 loss to world number 47 Misha Zilberman of Israel in a 41-minute men's singles group D match.

Satwik and Chirag, who have been working under Danish coach Mathias Boe for the last few months, dished out a tactical superior game and held their nerves in the final moments to emerge victorious during the one hour and nine-minute contest, which turned out to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

The Indians had five match points but the Chinese Taipei pair, the 2018 World championship bronze-medallists, saved all of them before grabbing one themselves but Chirag and Satwik were up to the task and had the last laugh.

Satwik and Chirag will next play Indonesian world no. 1s Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo on Sunday.

Earlier, Praneeth jeopardised his qualification to the knockout stage after going down to Zilberman.

"I was under pressure in the first game. It wasn't going my way and I couldn't do anything. In the first game I was dominating initially but then it went away from me. I didn't play 100 per cent, I couldn't think. I need to pick myself up for the next match," he said.

Praneeth, a 2019 World Championship bronze medallist and now ranked 15th, will next face world number 29 Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands.

In the opening game, Praneeth raced to a 8-4 lead early on but soon Zilberman reeled off five straight points to turn the tables as the Indian committed a series of unforced errors.

Praneeth entered the break with a one-point advantage after Zilberman made an error.

He lacked in execution, which allowed Zilberman to lead 15-13. The Israeli shuttler dominated the proceedings to zoom to 19-14 as the Indian miscued a few shots.

Zilberman continued to dictate terms in the rallies as Praneeth trailed 7-11 at the interval of the second game.

Praneeth couldn't match the pace of his opponent, who seemed to be playing at a different level.

Zilberman eventually grabbed eight match points after Praneeth went long again and sealed it with a smash. 

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