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Francis Alwin and Nandagopal Kidambi clinch men’s doubles title at Iran International Challenge

Nandagopal Kidambi
Great start to the year for Nandagopal Kidambi
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 09 Feb 2018, 23:14 IST
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The unseeded pair of Francis Alwin and Nandagopal Kidambi upset fourth seeds Tarun Kona and Saurabh Sharma to win an all-Indian men’s doubles final at the 27th Iran Fajr International Challenge 2018 held in Tehran, Iran on Thursday. Alwin and Nandagopal came back from a deficit to beat Kona and Sharma 9-11, 11-6, 7-11, 11-8, 11-9 in the 11-point format final in 38 minutes.

This is the first men’s doubles title for Kidambi Srikanth’s elder brother, Nandagopal since triumphing at the Kharkiv International in September last year. As for Alwin, this is his first win in the men’s doubles circuit 10 months after winning the Peru International Challenge.

Incidentally, Alwin had won that title alongside Kona, whom he faced at the Iran International Challenge final on Thursday. The two had a long-standing partnership until parting ways in September.

While Kona and Sharma joined forces, Nandagopal and Alwin formed a new pair. Kona and Sharma found success within two months when they clinched the South Africa International title.

Alwin and Nandagopal made it to the final of the India International Series in November, but failed to cross the final hurdle. The two then started the 2018 season by qualifying and then winning their first round match at the India Open last week.

The two then carried that confidence into this week’s Iran International and stunned the third seeds Job Castillo and Lino Munoz in the second round en route to winning the title. Nandagopal and Alwin conceded just one game in four matches before the summit clash.

Indians made it to singles semis

Earlier, third seed Vaishnavi Reddy Jakka made it to the semi-finals in women’s singles before bowing out to the fifth seed Muralitharan Thinaah 3-11, 11-7, 5-11, 9-11.

In men’s singles, Shreyansh Jaiswal and Aryamann Tandon too reached the last-four stage before their campaigns were halted by the top two seeds. Tandon’s gutsy effort ended in an 11-7, 11-13, 8-11, 14-12, 6-11 loss to the top seed Tien Minh Nguyen.

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Jaiswal, who won the Nepal International Series in December, slumped to a 9-11, 11-6, 9-11, 8-11 defeat at the hands of the second seed and eventual champion Cao Cuong Pham.

 

Published 09 Feb 2018, 23:14 IST
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