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(Photo: BWF & Badminton Photo)
Merkle surprises at the Arctic Open
Date: 10/11/2023 8:45 PM
Published by : Gaia Diakhite Becerra (BEC)
The Clash of Clans Arctic Open 2023, powered by Yonex, is currently underway in Vantaa, Finland, and it has already witnessed several European players advancing to the Round of 16. The men's singles draw, in particular, delivered some captivating moments, with a few surprises and significant first-round victories.

“I’m very happy, I didn’t play that well in my latest tournaments so that was the win I needed it was the win I needed to be back in good shape and confident”.

One of the standout stories in this tournament came from Arnaud Merkle, who managed to progress from the qualification (Promoted from Qualification) stage to the main draw and clinched an impressive victory in the first round. Merkle showcased his exceptional skills in a thrilling showdown against Taipei's Lin Chun-Yi, ultimately triumphing with a scoreline of 13-21 25-23 16-21. His elation was palpable after the match.

“I was looking for wins against the top 20 in the world, and I think he is 21st, but he’s playing at a very high level, and he’s used to the world tour, the biggest events, so I needed a good win like that and I’m very happy to take it”.

Adding to the positives for the French contingents, Christo Popov secured a spot in the second round when the reigning World Champion, Kunlavut Vitidsarn from Thailand, was forced to retire due to an injury. Notably, before the unfortunate retirement, Popov had been putting up an impressive performance, leading with a score of 21-17 12-21 7-11.

“Not the way I wanted to win the match, and wishing a speedy recovery to Kunlavut but as you said I was pretty much leading the game in the third set. But of course, we don’t know what would have happened [if the game had continued]”.

Nhat Nguyen for his part got past Belgium’s Julien Carraggi in a 21-14 21-11, one sided match-up. Despite the one-sided scoreboard, the Irishman recognised the strengths of his opponent: 

“I’m quite satisfied, the game was tough. The score line was quite comfortable, but the game was mentally tough. I practised with him [Julien Carraggi] before the match. Yeah, I think it was a mental battle, but I’m happy to have come out on top”.

Matches from court 1 can be streamed live on BWF.TV and results followed here.
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