The big guns of Indian badminton have started to acclimatise to South Korean conditions ahead of the Super 500 in Suncheon. But on Sunday, some 10 thousand kilometres away in France, Mithun Manjunath is a match away from winning his career’s biggest title.
The 23-year-old has punched above his weight at the Orleans Masters Super 100 event in north-central France, and is looking to win a first tour title.
He came from behind to beat second seed Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark in the quarterfinal, in 58-minute (the longest match for Manjunath at the event) 16-21, 21-10, 21-11 win. Now he faces the fourth seed World No 32 from France, Toma Junior Popov, in the final.
Manjunath’s run in Orleans is one better, so far, than the semi-final finish he managed at the Syed Modi International Super 300 event earlier this year. But the World No 73 has rallied well to book his spot in the summit clash this Sunday.
He beat compatriots Kartikey Gulshan Kumar and Siddharth Pratap Singh in the first two rounds in straight games before getting the better of World No 22 Vittinghus. In the quarterfinal he beat Yin Chak Chan of Hong Kong 21-13, 21-18 in a 42-minute encounter.
On Saturday he got the better of Christian Adinata of Indonesia with a 21-18, 21-14 scoreline, in a 47-minute match.
Now he faces the tall Bulgaria-born Frenchman, seeded fourth at the event, in the final.
Also reaching the semifinal was Shikha Gautam and Ashwin Bhatt, in the women’s doubles. They lost in the last four stage.