They made a stunning Olympic debut by upsetting third seeds Lee Yang and Wang Chi-Lin of Chinese Taipei 21-16, 16-21, 27-25 in their Group A first round encounter in Tokyo on Saturday. However, B Sai Praneeth suffered an unexpected 17-21, 15-21 loss against Misha Zilberman of Israel.
Satwik said that keeping themselves calm and avoiding mistakes at crucial stages helped them. “We did not want to put pressure on ourselves. We had made some mistakes in the past few tournaments, especially at the closing stages. We wanted to stick to the basics, just serve and get ready, let them earn the point. We just wanted to come here and enjoy our first Olympics. It doesn’t matter who you are playing,” Satwik told the BWF website.
His partner Chirag said that the Taipei pair are the team to beat.
“They are the pair to beat as they won back-to-back events in Thailand. We didn’t do well in the Swiss Open and All England. Really happy to come here and win our first match,” Chirag said.
The sensational victory against a team which is in top form should help Satwik-Chirag to make it to the quarterfinals. The Chinese Taipei team had won back-to-back titles earlier this year at Thailand. The Indian boys are in a group of death along with the world No.1 pair and this was like a must-win game for them.
The duo, who made rapid strides in the last couple of years, lived up to their billing as giant-killers. The Indians have in fact defeated almost all the top teams in the last couple of years. Wary of the Indians prowess, Lee and Chin started on a cautious note in the first game, but the Indians powered ahead to take it at 21-16. The world No.3 pair came back in style and dominated the Indians with their clever play.
In the decider they were racing ahead at 13-11 and then 16-13. And when it looked like they will be closing it comfortably, the Indians made a splendid comeback.
Trailing 16-19, Satwik-Chirag played like seasoned campaigners. It was delightful to see, Satwik coming up with some deft touches at the net and even calming his partner. At 19-19, the Taipei pair became nervous while the Indians grew in confidence.
The Indians had seven match points before going for the kill.
Meanwhile, Sai did a lot of harm to his chances of qualifying for the next stage. He admitted that he was under pressure.
“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,” Sai told the BWF website after his loss.
To qualify the Indian has to beat Mark Caljouw and then expect Zilberman to beat the Dutchman.