Badminton: Chirag Shetty wants to crack top 15, win super 300 title in 2019
Keen to build on a reasonably successful season, India's young men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Reddy has now set eyes on reaching a major final and breaking into the top-15 bracket, next year.
From being newbies, Chirag and Satwik emerged as India's best-ranked men's doubles pair this year, where they claimed a maiden silver medal at Commonwealth Games, clinched the Hyderabad Open Super 100 title and made the semifinals of a Super 300 and 750 event.
"It has been a great year for us. We reached the targets we had set for ourself and we hope to replicate the same form in the next year," Chirag told PTI.
"We played semis at Indonesia Open and French Open last week, had a decent outing at All England, followed by CWG where we won a silver. The World Championship and Asian Games were also decent.
"We also won a super 100 title at Hyderabad, which was one of our targets. So next year we want to play a final of a major tournament and win at least a super 300 tournament," he added.
Chirag, 21, and Satwik, 18, also achieved a career-best team ranking of 18 in the world in April, this year.
"We have been playing well and our personal target is to enter top 15 next year. If we can continue to make the quarters and semifinals, we can do it," said Chirag, who along with his partner is currently ranked 25th.
The Indian duo savoured some great moments this year, outwitting world no 7 Danish pairs of Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding in Indonesia in January, besides winning against Indonesian pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in Asia team championship. They also beat Chinese pair of He Jiting and Tan Qiang in France.
So whom they find the most difficult to beat, Chirag reckons it is the world no 1 pair of Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo from Indonesia, whom they have played four times this year.
"Frankly, if we are at top of our game, we can beat anybody on our day. Marcus and Kevin are also beatable, and we want to beat them. Even though we have lost against Gideon and Kevin, we have played close matches," said Chirag.
"We played one of our best matches against them at the Asian Games. If I would not have missed at the tap, we could have won."
With three more events to go this season, Chirag said they have to be more consistent to achieve their goals.
"We know we have to be more consistent in terms of our shot selection and anticipation during matches," he said.
"Guys like Hendra Setiawan, Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen are very consistent, they know how to score easy points. They have great anticipation and their defence is excellent, so those are the things we have to work on," he said.
"We were just a young pair last year and we have improved a lot. We were new, we were just creating openings and attacking but the defence was weak but now, especially in this event at Paris, we scored a lot with our defence, that is a sign of improvement and we have also become calmer."
(With inputs from agencies.)