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SportsSatwik-Chirag's defensive struggles against Chinese serve highlights need for tactical changes ahead...

Satwik-Chirag’s defensive struggles against Chinese serve highlights need for tactical changes ahead of Paris 2024


The Indian men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty had a rare off day against China in the quarterfinals of the Thomas Cup as their of the title came to an end. While the defeat would no doubt have stung, it may prove to be a blessing in disguise for the duo as they aim to peak for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Satwik and Chirag looked unusually uncomfortable dealing with the varies serves, particularly the tumble serve, of the No.1 Chinese combo of Liang Weikeng and Wang Chang. This allowed the Chinese to race to big leads in the opening sets and control proceedings from the start. It was evident the Indians were struggling to gain a foothold in rallies and initiate their usually crisp attacking play.

Numerous errors while receiving serve and in decision making highlighted that the duo lacked clarity on certain days against varied playing styles. This is something they will need to address as different pairings from Asia and Europe will present diverse challenges in Paris.

While their skill and fitness are world-class, the defeat underlines that tactical framing requires fine tuning. Against lesser opponents, Satwik and Chirag's raw talent has often bailed them out of trouble. But to win Olympic gold, they will need to have strategized gameplans for any scenario.

Coach Mathias Boe will surely dissect this loss with the pair to identify flaws. Improving serve reception, especially against tumbling delivers, must be a focus. Staying mentally switched on for the entirety of tight matches is another aspect.

With almost a year to go, Satwik and Chirag have enough time to make adjustments. If this loss prompts the required professionalism, then their struggles in Chengdu may just be the jolt needed to propel them towards the top of the Olympic podium in Paris.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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