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Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty Enter Final, HS Prannoy Signs Off With Bronze At Asian Games 2023

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An error-prone HS Prannoy signed off with an Asian Games bronze, India’s first medal in men’s singles in 41 years, but Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty kept alive the country’s hopes of a first-ever badminton gold after cruising into the men’s doubles final on Friday. Satwik and Chirag, ranked world no. 3, dished out a badminton master-class to outclass Malaysia’s Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik, Tokyo bronze medallists and former world champions, 21-17, 21-12 in 46 minutes of dominance.

(Asian Games 2023 Medals Tally | Asian Games 2023 Full Schedule)

The Indian pair thus became the first Indian men’s doubles pair to assure of a silver at the Asian Games. The duo was also part of India’s silver-medal winning men’s team last week.

Satwik and Chirag, the reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallists, will face Korea’s Choi Sol Gyu and Kim Won Ho in the final on Saturday. The Indians have a 2-0 record against the Koreans.

While the doubles pair was simply sensational, Prannoy, who was playing with a back niggle, succumbed in a pool of errors, going down 16-21, 9-21 to reigning All England champion, China’s Li Shi Feng, in the semifinals earlier in the day to sign off with a maiden bronze.

It was India’s second medal in men’s singles since Syed Modi claimed a bronze in the 1982 edition in New Delhi.

Satwik and Chirag came into the match with a dismal 1-8 record against the Malaysians but it didn’t matter as they sent down their booming smashes whenever there was an opportunity and also were good with their angles and placement.

The two pairs fought tooth and nail from the first point to 10-10 before Satwik produced a smash to take a one-point lead at the break.

On resumption, the Indian pair showed better anticipation and quickly extended their lead to 16-10 before grabbing six game points.

A service error from the Indians and then a deceptive stroke from Soh helped Malaysia save three game points before Aaron sent his forehand into the net.

The Indians came out all guns blazing with the pair mixing defence and attack seamlessly to zoom to 11-3 at the interval.

The two showed great coordination, moving smoothly back and forth with Satwik displaying his superb defence and Chirag complementing him.

Satwik and Chirag kept dominating the rallies with their anticipation and interceptions and grabbed 10 match points after winning a net duel, and converted in the third attempt.

Earlier, Prannoy made a good start but lost the plot midway through the opening game, mainly due to the errors he committed while looking for precision in his return, going wide and long in the process.

Prannoy, 31, focussed on constructing his rallies, using his drops to good use to lead 3-1. He mixed his shots well, shying away from smashes and instead using tosses to pin his opponent to the baseline.

Li tried to step up the pace and drew parity 5-5. The Indian then used his smash to get a point and soon moved to 8-5. He produced a forehand deceptive return to go to 9-7.

However, looking for precision, Prannoy missed the lines on the flank a few times to allow the Chinese to recover. Li made it 10-10 before a deceptive drop gave Prannoy a one-point cushion.

He led 13-11 when things started turning, as Li made it 15-14 with Prannoy erring.

The Chinese also grew in confidence and used his attack to move to 17-14. A straight jump smash kept Prannoy going, but he soon fell behind to 15-19.

Li won a net duel to gain four game points and then a lucky net cord ended the opening game.

The second game too was a tight affair initially as the duo battled to 4-4 but Li used his attacking returns and started dominating the rallies to eke out a four-point advantage at 8-4 with a net kill. Li had a five-point lead at the interval.

With Prannoy finding it hard to curb his errors, points kept coming thick and fast for Li as he moved to 14-6. The Chinese looked more sharp and showed better anticipation to move to 19-9 in a jiffy.

An on-the-line return gave 11 match points to Li and he sealed it comfortably.

Prannoy conceded that not being being able to achieve peak fitness levels was one of the reasons for his defeat. The 31-year-old Indian has played almost all his matches here with a heavily-taped lower back.

“Credit to Li. He played a really solid game out there. I had more chances in the first game but it drifted away from me after 14-14. At my current fitness level, I’m happy enough to play the semifinal on such a big stage,” said Prannoy.

“It’s the first time he’s beaten me and maybe my fitness played a part, but today he was much better prepared. The crowd gave him confidence. I think a combination of factors gave him the edge.” The shuttler also indicated that the taxing Paris Olympics qualification schedule was taking a toll and he will have to “take care” of his niggles.

“Sadly, there are tons of tournaments before that (2024 Olympics). A whole year of qualifications and so many tournaments can be cruel for some badminton players. I need to take care of these issues (back injury) so now it’s important to get back and check my whole body to make sure I’m fit the entire year.” Prannoy also conceded the difference in age between him and Li could also have been a contributing factor for his loss.

“I think age is a factor because some of them (players) are 21 or 22, and they’re flying all over the court. We have to manage these youngsters but there is also some fun in that.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Iga Swiatek Saves Match Point To Beat Naomi Osaka At French Open

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Defending champion Iga Swiatek saved a match point to outlast Naomi Osaka.© AFP




Defending champion Iga Swiatek saved a match point to outlast fellow four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka 7-6 (7/1), 1-6, 7-5 in a breathtaking second-round clash at the French Open on Wednesday. World number one Swiatek trailed 5-2 in the final set but the Pole won the last five games of the match to keep her bid for a third successive Roland Garros title on track.

She is attempting to become only the fourth woman in the Open era to lift four Roland Garros titles and just the second — after Serena Williams — to complete the clay-court treble of Madrid, Rome and French Opens in the same season.

More to follow…

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Bayern Munich Appoint Vincent Kompany To End Long Search For New Coach

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Bayern Munich’s long search to fill their vacant head coaching position is over with the German giants naming Vincent Kompany as manager in a shock move on Wednesday. The 38-year-old Belgian, a surprise choice with his Burnley side relegated from the Premier League this season, has penned a three-year deal at the Allianz Arena. Normally in contention for the biggest names in the business, Bayern have been searching for months but have been knocked back by several candidates after their first trophyless season for 12 years.

After failed attempts to lure Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso, Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann and Austria’s Ralf Rangnick, Bayern tried to hold onto Thomas Tuchel, who had agreed in February to leave in the summer. 

Tuchel however announced in May he “couldn’t agree on terms” to stay with the club and would “stick to the agreement we had in February”.

Instead, Bayern have decided for Kompany, taking a risk on an inexperienced yet promising candidate in one of the biggest jobs in football. 

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of FC Bayern. It’s a great honour to be able to work for this club – FC Bayern is an institution in international football,” said Kompany in a club statement.

“I’m now looking forward to the basics: working with the players, building a team. Once the basis is right, success will follow.”

Burnley will reportedly receive £10 million ($13 million) in compensation for allowing their manager to leave.

“We understand the allure and prestige of a club like Bayern Munich and respect Vincent’s ambition to explore new opportunities,” Burnley said in a statement.

Alonso 2.0?

After a successful playing career where he captained Manchester City and the Belgian national team, Kompany returned to his first club Anderlecht to begin his managerial career.

He moved to Burnley in 2022 and took them to the Premier League as second-division champions, before crashing back to earth over the past 12 months.

Yet, he crucially retained the support of his old coach at City Pep Guardiola, who advised his former club to go for Kompany due to his leadership qualities and determination to play an attacking brand of football.

“As a coach, you have to stand for what you are as a character,” added Kompany. “I love having the ball, being creative – but we also have to be aggressive and courageous on the pitch.”

Coaching instability has been a feature at Bayern over the past decade and a half, despite their consistent on-field success. 

Guardiola, whose three-year spell in Bavaria ended in 2016, was the last Bayern coach to complete at least two full seasons. 

Used to poaching the best talent from their Bundesliga rivals, Bayern were shunned by Alonso, as he decided to take Leverkusen into the Champions League next season.

However, recreating the Spaniard’s success in Germany looks to have been on the minds of the Bayern board.

Like Alonso, Kompany is a disciple of Guardiola and speaks German thanks to his spell at Hamburg as a player.

But his transition into coaching has not been as smooth as the Leverkusen boss.

He finished third and fourth in his two full seasons at Anderlecht before overseeing Burnley’s lowest ever points tally in the English top-flight to finish second bottom of the Premier League this season.

Kompany, who is the same age as Bayern captain Manuel Neuer, now has a mammoth task ahead of him in reviving Bayern’s on-field fortunes, not to mention navigating the club’s complex backroom politics, which have derailed more experienced coaches.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Carlos Alcaraz Survives Scare At French Open

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Carlos Alcaraz survived a huge scare at the hands of 176th-ranked Jesper de Jong.© AFP




World number three Carlos Alcaraz survived a huge scare at the hands of 176th-ranked Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong to reach the third round after a four-set triumph on Wednesday. Wimbledon champion Alcaraz, who made the semi-finals at Roland Garros last year, scrambled to a 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 second round victory over a player taking part in only his second Grand Slam main draw. The 21-year-old Spaniard was broken five times and hit 47 unforced errors before De Jong, playing his fifth match at the tournament, eventually wilted under the roof of Court Phillipe Chatrier.

“Every player can cause you trouble,” said Alcaraz.

“You have to be focussed in every round, have to play at your best, it doesn’t matter what the ranking is. Jesper has the work and level to break into the top 100.”

Alcaraz goes on to face either American 27th seed Sebastian Korda or South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo for a place in the last 16.

Despite being broken in the second game of the opening set, Alcaraz broke three times himself to grab the advantage.

The battling Dutchman then saved eight break points over the course of the second set before the Spaniard found the killer blow.

However, Alcaraz, who arrived at the tournament under an injury cloud after sitting out the Rome Open with a right arm problem, went off the boil in the third set.

He committed 15 unforced errors to the Dutchman’s five as the qualifier cut the deficit.

Alcaraz then twice had to come back from breaks early in the fourth set before running away with the last four games to triumph.

 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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