Lagos International: Rahul Chittaboina, Manu Attri-Sumeeth Reddy crowned champions
Indian shuttlers made merry at the $20, 000 Lagos International Badminton Classics by grabbing both the men’s singles and the men’s doubles titles at this International Challenge-level tournament that concluded in Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday. The India No. 1 men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy lived up to their top seeding and prevailed over the local pair of Godwin Olofua and Anouluwapo Juwon Opeyori, 21-13, 21-15 in a one-sided summit clash.
The men’s singles final witnessed an all-Indian final where the steadily rising fourth seeded Rahul Yadav Chittaboina reigned supreme over his compatriot and seventh seed Karan Rajan Rajarajan, 21-15, 21-13.
India had a finalist in women’s singles too. But fourth seeded Mugdha Agrey was beaten in the final by the Sri Lankan shuttler, Thilini Pramodika Hendahewa, 13-21, 19-21.
For the 19-year-old Chittaboina, this was his first title since winning the Mauritius International in June last year. After suffering a few early defeats this year, the teenager found his form at the Russian Open Grand Prix last week.
He upset the fourth seed Subhankar Dey en route to reaching the semi-finals where he was narrowly edged by the second seed and eventual runner-up Vladimir Malkov in five gruelling games.
Chittaboina brought that confidence into this week’s Lagos International too and stunned the top seed and World No. 55 Misha Zilberman, 21-13, 22-24, 21-14 in the semi-finals.
Attri-Reddy back to winning ways after 12 months
For Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy, this title comes after months of hardship. Since becoming the Canada Open Grand Prix champions in July last year, the two hadn’t managed to reach another final prior to this week.
Before embarking on the North American swing in July, they had endured a barren stretch that saw them go on a nine-match losing streak. It was only after returning to the Canada Open that they started showing some of their lost spark and made it to the quarter-finals.
At the US Open Grand Prix Gold, they went even better, bowing out only in the semi-finals after a heartbreaking 20-22 defeat in the third game to the top seeds Lu Ching Yao and Yang Po Han.
The Lagos International title very much validates that they are back on track.
In women’s singles too, India could have had an all-Indian final. The Sri Lankan Hendahewa, however, dashed all those hopes by beating the sixth seeded Vaidehi Choudhari, 8-21, 21-16, 22-20 in the semi-finals.