Orleans Masters: Mithun Manjunath loses in final

Indian shuttler Mithun Manjunath's splendid run at the Orleans Masters ended with a straight game loss to local favourite Toma Junior Popov in the summit clash of the Super 100 tournament.

Indian shuttler Mithun Manjunath's splendid run at the Orleans Masters ended with a straight game loss to local favourite Toma Junior Popov in the summit clash of the Super 100 tournament.

The 23-year-old Manjunath went down 21-11, 21-19 to world number 32 and fourth seed Frenchman in 50 minutes late on Sunday night.

It was Majunath's maiden Super 100 final. He is a product of the Prakash Padukone Badminton Academy.

The unseeded Indian had been impressive throughout the tournament, stunning world No. 22 Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark in the quarterfinals.

The world number 79 has won four All-India ranking titles, including the All India Senior Ranking Badminton tournament in December last year.

The shuttler from Bengaluru was rated highly during his junior days and he also had one or two odd performances in the circuit like reaching the quarters at 2018 Czech Open and back-to-back semi-finals finishes at Vietnam Open and Russian Open in 2018.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to work hard on his fitness, something which has helped him to stay longer in the rallies and outlast his opponents in the three-game contests.

He had reached the semifinals of Infosys foundation India International in October last year.

He was one of the players who had withdrawn from the India Open Super 500 event ahead of his second round match against India's H S Prannoy after testing positive for COVID-19.

However, he made a good comeback, reaching the last four at Lucknow and the quarters in Odisha in January.

He was also part of the Indian team which competed at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Malaysia.

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