Iran International: Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok reach final
The rising men’s doubles pair of Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok became the only Indian pair to make it to the final of the 26th Iran Fajr Badminton International Challenge 2017 held in Tehran, Iran on Saturday. The second seeds put up a brilliant show of resilience to edge past the fourth-seeded Indonesian combine of Sabar Karyaman Gutama and Franky Wijaya, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-8 in the semi-finals in 40 minutes.
Top-seeded Kona and Francis bow out
However, the top-seeded Indian men’s doubles pair of Tarun Kona and Alwin Francis was not so lucky. The fifth seeded Indonesian duo of Kenas Adi Haryanto and Muhammad Reza Pahlevi Isfahani proved to be too strong for them and notched up a comfortable 11-1, 11-5, 11-7 victory in the semi-finals. The one-sided match lasted only 20 minutes.
The third Indian pair in men’s doubles – the seventh seeds Rohan Kapoor and Arun George – crashed out in the quarter-finals with a 6-11, 8-11, 6-11 defeat to the fourth seeds Gutama and Wijaya.
There was disappointment in women’s doubles as well. The only Indian pair in that category was the top-seeded duo of Sanjana Santosh and Arathi Sara Sunil, who succumbed to a 14-12, 7-11, 7-11, 6-11 defeat to the unseeded Singaporean team of Ren-Ne Ong and Jia Ying Crystal Wong.
Besides the doubles pairs, the sole Indian in men’s singles main draw was the 10th seeded Siddharth Thakur, who lost in the second round.
Strong show from Arjun and Shlok this week
Arjun MR and Ramchandran Shlok have been on the rise for the past few months and have been putting up consistent results. They won the Nepal International Series and reached the finals of both the India International Series and the India International Challenge thus ending the 2016 season with a great momentum. That has catapulted them up to a career-high World No. 66 in the latest BWF Rankings.
Arjun and Shlok have been very impressive throughout the Iran International this week. They did not drop a single game en route to the semi-finals. It will be a big boost for this pair as well as for Indian badminton doubles if they can win the title on Sunday.