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Dutch International Badminton: Anand Pawar upsets second seed to win comeback tournament

863   //    23 Apr 2017, 22:45 IST
Anand Pawar
Anand Pawar stands on top of the podium in the Netherlands

Five months after a serious spine injury had rendered him out of action, Indian badminton ace Anand Pawar made a memorable comeback by winning his first tournament on return. The 108th ranked shuttler, seeded seventh, upset the second seed and World No. 73 Kalle Koljonen of Finland, 20-22, 21-19, 21-17 in the final of the $10,000 Victor Dutch International 2017 at Wateringen, the Netherlands on Sunday. The closely-fought match lasted 1 hour 8 minutes.

It was while playing the Round of 64 match at the Scottish Open in November that the 30-year-old had sustained the injury due to which he had to quit while trailing 12-21, 14-15 against Englishman Sam Parsons. The resulting hiatus saw his ranking plummeting to a lowly 108th.

With this title, the former World No. 30 is guaranteed to climb his way back inside the top 100.

Pawar did not drop a game en route to the final

Having fully recovered from the injury, Pawar had been in impeccable form all week and did not concede a game en route to the summit clash. The former Scottish Open champion opened his campaign with a facile 21-16, 21-18 win over Sweden’s Jacob Nilsson. In the second round, he blew away Felix Burestedt of Sweden, 21-8 in the first game before closing out the 21-8, 21-13 victory.

The quarter-final match was equally easy for the Indian, who prevailed 21-15, 21-18 over Denmark’s Rasmus Messerschmidt. Brimming with confidence, Pawar thundered past the eighth seed Iikka Heino of Finland, 21-11, 21-7 in the semi-finals.

Tarun Kona and Alwin Francis seek title in Peru

Anand Pawar was not the only Indian in contention for a title this weekend. The men’s doubles duo of Tarun Kona and Alwin Francis has reached the final of the $20, 000 Peru International Challenge 2017 where they will face the local pair of Mario Cuba and Diego Mini.

Kona and Francis have lived up to their top seeding and have not dropped a game on their way to the final. After a first round bye, they started off their challenge with a 21-11, 21-14 win over Jose Guevara and Daniel La Torre Regal of Peru. In the quarter-finals, they thrashed another Peruvian team of Rodrigo Camogliano Telge and Mariano Novoa, 21-18, 21-14.

They notched up their third consecutive win over a local pair in the semi-finals as they blitzed past Nicolas Macias and Gustavo Alfredo Salazar, 21-7, 21-3.