India's men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty stormed into the semi-finals of the Korea Open 2023 badminton tournament after beating Japan's Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi at the Jinnam Stadium, here on Friday.
Satwik and Chirag, third seeds and world No. 3 in the badminton rankings, beat former world champions Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi 21-14, 21-17 in the quarter-finals, which lasted for 40 minutes.
It was the Indian duo's fourth win over the former world No. 1 Japanese pair in five meetings.
In the quarter-finals, the Indian pair quickly took control of the first game with two separate runs of five consecutive points. From 5-5, the scores went to 15-6 in favour of Chirag-Satwik.
The Japanese duo bagged the next four points but the deficit proved too much to overcome as the Indians won the first game 21-14.
In the second game, the two teams were at 8-8 before the Indian badminton players switched gears to win six consecutive points to take the lead at 14-9. Hoki-Kobayashi won three straight points to level the scores at 16-16. But the Indian pair edged away to seal the game 21-17.
Satwiksairaj and Chirag will play second seeds and world No. 2 duo Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang of China in the semi-finals on Saturday.
Notably, results at the Korea Open count towards players' qualifying rankings for the Paris 2024 Olympics. The qualification window for badminton started on May 1 this year.