Kunlavut lands maiden crown

Kunlavut lands maiden crown

Kunlavut Vitidsarn celebrates on the podium after winning the German Open.
Kunlavut Vitidsarn celebrates on the podium after winning the German Open.

Thailand's Kunlavut Vitidsarn defeated India's Lakshya Sen 21-18, 21-15 in the men's singles final of the German Open on Sunday.

It was the 20-year-old Thai's first BWF World Tour title, having previously lost in the final three times -- all against top-ranked Viktor Axelsen of Denmark from 2020-21.

Kunlavut was runner-up at last year's world championships after losing to Axelsen in the title match.

The Thai, who defeated All England Open champion Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia in the semi-finals, got US$13,500 (approx 445,500 baht) his victory at the Super 300 tournament in Germany.

Sen, who upset Axelsen in the semi-finals, took home $6,840 after the loss at Westenergie Sporthalle in Muelheim an der Ruhr.

Sunday's result halted the Indian's nine-match win streak as he never got on top of Kunlavut, a three-time world junior champion.

Thai badminton chief Patama Leeswadtrakul said world No.20 Kunlavut could crack in to the top 10 this year thanks to his technique, skill, discipline, hard work and determination.

Kunlavut is a product of Banthongyord Badminton School which has also produced Ratchanok Intanon, currently Thailand's highest-ranked singles player.

Ratchanok pulled out of the German Open after testing positive for Covid-19 following her win in the last-16 round.

Earlier Sunday, Thailand's Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai won the mixed doubles title at the German Open.

The world No.1 and top-seeded pair overpowered unseeded Ou Xuany and Huang Yaqiong of China 21-11, 21-9 in just 35 minutes.

The pair received $14,220 in prize money.

Kunlavut and Dechapol and Sapsiree will next play in this week's All England Open.

Kunlavut will face HS Prannoy of India in the first round.

Dechapol and Sapsiree are the top seeds at the All England Open in Birmingham where they were runners-up in 2020.

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