Mulheim an der Ruhr (Germany): Seasoned campaigner Arvind Bhat reached a new high in his badminton career when he defeated Danish Hans-Kristian Vittinghus to clinch the men's singles title of the USD 120,000 German Open Grand Prix Gold.
Arvind Bhat in action during Tata Open badminton tournament at Bombay Gymkhana in Mumbai. Pic: mid-day
The Indian veteran struck the form of his life at the age of 34 to win his first ever Grand Prix crown at the RWE-Sporthalle, upsetting 12th seeded Vittinghus 24-22, 19-21, 21-11 in exactly an hour.
Apart from the first round, the two-time former national champion has beaten a higher ranked player in every match.
This is the also the World No.87's first title in five years and nine months and this is also the first time an Indian has won a German Open title in any category. Indian chief national coach Pullela Gopichand had reached the final way back in 1999.
The first game of this thrilling clash turned out to be a close affair with both players exchanging the lead several times. Towards the end, the Bangalore resident made an amazing comeback from 18-20 down to save four gamepoints, proceeding to win the game.
The Dane, however, turned the tables on the unseeded Bhat in the second game. The World No.25, who was earlier trailing 7-13 and then 12-17, won nine out of the last 11 points to level the match.
The third set was an even closer affair than the first two with both shuttlers having problems. On one side, the Dane was suffering from a heavily strapped lower back while on the other Bhat seemed extremely fatigued.
With the game evenly poised with the Indian leading 12-11, Bhat somehow brought drained out his last bit of energy to notch up the next nine points and win the encounter on his first matchpoint.