(Photo: BWF / Badmintonphoto)
Arnaud Merkle, back on top
Date: 6/19/2023 3:59 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
The French player triumphs at the Nantes International Challenge 2023 in an inspiring comeback from surgery.

Arnaud Merkle, one of France's top badminton players in the European Circuit, claimed the coveted title at the Nantes International Challenge. Following an arduous six-month journey of recovery from a hip surgery, Merkle's triumphant return captivated the home crowd.

Merkle his comeback three months after the surgery at the Madrid Spain Masters in March, against none other than French legend Brice Leverdez. Although Merkle emerged victorious in their encounter, he was forced to withdraw from the subsequent match due to leg pain, marking a temporary setback in his journey.

Undeterred by the challenges, Merkle reached the quarterfinals at the Mexican International and, more recently, the Denmark Masters. Now, the moment had arrived to showcase his prowess on home soil at the Nantes International Challenge.

Exhibiting exceptional form throughout the tournament, the Frenchman breezed into the finals with victories over strong opponents such as Dutch player Mark Caljouw and India's Sameer Verma. In the ultimate showdown, Merkle faced off against Indonesian young talent Jason Christ Alexander. The French player secured a resounding straight-games victory, 21-18 21-16.

Merkle took to Instagram to express his emotions, stating, “So many emotions, [it’s] hard to describe this feeling of winning in front of a French public after six complex months, many hours of work, suffering, and doubts. I’m finally back on the top of a podium.”

Vestergaard and Busch secure third title of the year
Following a near miss on home turf at the Denmark Masters, Mads Vestergaard and Christine Busch hungered for gold at the Nantes International Challenge just a week later.

The semifinals witnessed a fierce clash between compatriots as Vestergaard and Busch faced fellow Danes Jesper Toft and Clara Graversen. In an intense matchup, the Vestergaard and Busch emerged victorious, securing their place in the finals.

Their opponents in the ultimate showdown were India's Sai Pratheek.K and Tanisha Crasto, whom Vestergaard and Busch had triumphed over in straight games during the quarterfinals of the Denmark Masters just a week prior. However, the Indian duo pushed the Danes in a gripping three-game encounter. Although their opponents claimed the first game, Vestergaard and Busch rallied and triumphed 14-21, 21-14, 21-17, to win their third title of the year. 

Check all of the results and winners from the Nantes International Challenge 2023 here

In need of more badminton action this week? Then watch the 2023 European Club Championships live on

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