Yesterday, he defeated fourth seed Misbun Ramdan Mohmed Misbun of Malaysia in straight games 21-16, 21-10 to lift the French International title in Orleans.
Ranked 71 in the world, Anand made short work of his opponent in just 34 minutes. En route to the final, he defeated German Lukas Schmidt 21-9 10-21 16-21 in the 50-minute semi-final encounter.
Malaysian Soon Huat Goh, English Toby Penty and French Sylvain Ternon were the other shuttlers he overcame in the earlier rounds.
First title of 2012
This is his sixth International title, but first this year. Speaking to MiD DAY from Orleans, he said: “I started playing tournaments immediately after I recovered from the ligament tear on my right foot. But I never managed to win any title. What played an important role in this win is the three-week break I took after the German Open last month.”
Commenting on his 21-year-old opponent Mohmed Misbun, he said: “To be honest, he is a lot like the other players from Malaysia who play deceptive shots. He is still young, but I think that I was a bit smarter, and that worked for me. I’m happy to win this title, as the confidence will hold me in good stead for the next tournaments that I participate in.”
Back home, his father Uday Pawar, who runs a badminton academy at Goregaon Sports Club is elated. “He was struggling last year with the injury. But I’m sure this will boost his confidence. It will also help him get better results in the upcoming Dutch International (April 12-15) and Yonex Sunrise India Open (April 24-29),” added Pawar senior.