Asian Games gold medallists Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty faltered in the opening round to make a shocking exit from the Japan Masters Super 500 badminton tournament here on Tuesday.
The top-seeded Indian combination went down 21-16 18-21 16-21 to world number 21 Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han of Chinese Taipei in a 63-minute match.
The Indians erased an initial 0-3 deficit to grab a 11-7 lead. Lu and Yang clawed back at 13-13 but Satwik and Chirag managed to keep their nose ahead before taking the opening game with four straight points.
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The second game was a tough battle as advantage changed hands too frequently with the Taiwanese managing to hold on to 11-9 lead at the interval.
Satwik and Chirag kept breathing down their neck but Lu and Yang broke off at 14-14 to take the match to the decider.
The third game followed the same script with the two pairs engaging in a slugfest. From 6-6, Lu and Yang won four of the next five points to make it 7-10.
Satwik and Chirag drew parity but Lu and Yang were relentless as they dominated the rallies and feasted on the weakness of the Indians to seal the issue without much ado in the end.
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