Orleans Masters: Indian commuter Mithun Manjunath settles for cash
Orleans: Indian commuter Mithun Manjunath settled for a silver medal after losing to local favorite Toma Junior Popov in the men’s singles final of the 2022 Orleans Masters badminton tournament here on Sunday. Playing in his first BWF final, the 79th-ranked Indian commuter lost to the world No. 32 Frenchman 11-21, 19-21 in 50 minutes at the Palais des Sports. It was also the first meeting between the two players.Read also – The Indian Mithun Manjunath reaches the final of the Masters of Orleans
Manjunath, 23, started the match cautiously as the two players were tied at 6 after early rallies. However, Junior, the defending champion, used his reach to good effect and entered the break leading 11-6. Also Read- Lakshya Sen and Malvika Bansod to Lead Indian Team to Asia Team Badminton Championships
From there it was one sided as Indian failed to counter a string of smashes from the former European junior champion to go down 1-0. Manjunath tried to force Popov into longer rallies in game two and the plan worked. A number of unforced errors from the Frenchman helped him take a 12-6 lead. Read also – Syed Modi International: PV Sindhu enters the semi-finals; HS Prannoy bows out
However, the French commuter made a comeback with some clean returns and successfully defended his BWF Super 100 crown.
Until the final, Manjunath had a great run in the tournament. The unranked Indian stormed through five rounds, including a win over world No. 22 Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark in the round of 16, according to a report from olympics.com.
Manjunath emerged as India’s top prospect after tournament seed B Sai Praneeth collapsed early in the preliminary quarters. Women’s doubles pair Ashwini Bhat K and Shikha Gautam were the only other Indian players to advance to the semi-finals of the Orleans Masters 2022.
Notably, top Indian players like PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Kidambi Srikanth and Lakshya Sen did not participate in the tournament. They are expected to be in action at the Korea Open BWF Super 500 event which begins on Tuesday.