(Photo: Badminton Wales)
France take over the Welsh International podiums
Date: 12/7/2021 9:54 AM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
Three of the categories had French champions with Anne Tran taking two golds home, as the event gets a fresh new set of medallists upon its return.

The French talent keeps on shining on the European Circuit. The country earned three of the five champion titles of the VICTOR Welsh International Badminton Championships 2021 and it was déjà vu for Anne Tran as she repeats her Polish Open 2021 feat, becoming once again champion in women’s doubles and mixed doubles with the same partners.

This edition brings a fresh new set of champions, with none of the singles players and doubles partners that made it to the podium in 2019 repeating their achievement; however, some of this year’s medallists were no strangers to the podium.

Last time, the 2021 men’s doubles champions also took some medals home, Zach Russ being the runner-up with Steven Stallwood, and Rory Easton partnering with Ethan Van Leeuwen to take the bronze. Freya Redfearn, who competed in the singles category and won bronze last week, was the women’s doubles 2019 runner-up with Hope Warner.

Not-so-old friends meet again
The semifinals saw compatriots Siril Verma and Kiran George fighting for a spot in the final in an all-Indian clash in which Verma won in straight games. It was a similar result in Arnaud Merkle’s win against Mads Christophersen, this being the Frenchman’s first win against the Dane.

Arnaud Merkle and Siril Verma had faced each other just last week in their opening matches of the Scottish Open, which resulted in an early exit for the Indian player while the young French talent went on to win bronze.

This time, Verma would not let Merkle get away with a win in straight games as he struck back in the second game after losing the first, but the Frenchman got to get the victory once again: 21-14, 11-21, 21-15.

First women’s singles title for Chinese Taipei since 2012
Wen Chi Hsu and Wen Yu Zhang had already met at the Hungarian International quarterfinals, where the Chinese Taipei player won. In the only final of the event that did not go to three games, Hsu took the win again: 22-20 21-15.

Top-seeded Julie Dawall Jakobsen won bronze, as well as Freya Redfearn. The Dane cold not come out on top on her encounter in the semifinal against Hsu, who is 47 spots behind her in the world ranking.

One medal for Korea
Two-time World Championships medallists Kim Gi Jung/ Kim Sa Rang battled on court with fifth-seeded Man Wei Chong/ Kai Wun Tee for the title. The Koreans won in what was a tough clash: 21-18, 18-21, 21-15.

There was another Malaysian pair on the podium, Boon Xin Yuan/ Wong Tien Ci won the bronze and so did Rory Easton/ Zach Russ. The seventh-seeded English pair faced Man Wei Chong/ Kai Wun Tee, losing 21-11 21-14, who they lost to in the Irish Open.

A tough rematch
Margot Lambert/ Anne Tran and Treesa Jolly/ Gayatri Gopichand Pullela had faced each other in the Polish International 2021 final and the French duo won in straight games. This time, the Indian duo were not ready to give up the title so easily. The three-game marathon resulted in France winning in what was the longest match of the finals: 22-20, 17-21, 21-14. 

Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen/ Gronya Somerville who had a good run in the Irish Open where they finished as runner-ups, won the bronze in this event. Just like in the men’s doubles, there was Malaysian representation among the medallists, with Anna Ching Yik Cheong/ Teoh Mei Xing winning the other bronze.

Two medals for Tran
In what was Anne Tran’s second final of the tournament, she took on fourth seeds Callum Hemming/ Jessica Pugh with William Villeger. The French pair won against this year’s Scottish Open’s champions: 21-15, 17-21, 21-16.

Ishaan Bhatnagar/ Tanisha Castro got to the semifinals, as well as Gregory Mairs/ Jenny More who made it the third bronze for England in the event.
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