Four English medals in Nantes

Birch van Leeuwen 800

Chloe Birch and Estelle van Leeuwen won gold following an all-English women’s doubles final at the FZ FORZA Nantes International Challenge.

The duo beat Abbygael Harris and Annie Lado 21-18 21-9 in the showpiece and ended their tournament without dropping a game.

It was a successful tournament for English players, with an additional two silver medals in the mixed and men’s doubles.

Birch and van Leeuwen kicked off their campaign with a 21-9 21-12 Round 1 triumph over Welsh pair Saffron Morris and Aimie Whiteman, followed by a 21-14 21-12 quarter-final win over second seeded pair Tea Margueritte and Flavie Vallet of France.

A comfortable 21-13 21-8 win against Germans Leona Michalsk and Thuc Phuong Nguyen in the semi-finals saw them breeze through to the final against their fellow countrywomen and come out on top.

Harris and Lado’s run to the final included tight matches in Round 1 and the quarter-finals, beating Sharone Bauer and Emilie Vercelot 11-21 21-11 21-12 followed by Kirsten De Wit and Kelly Van Buiten 21-8 18-21 21-17.

A more comfortable 21-19 21-11 semi-final victory against Natasja P. Anthonisen and Alyssa Tirtosentono led them to the final and their eventual silver medal.

Van Leeuwen also medalled in the mixed doubles alongside Callum Hemming, earning silver after a final defeat to Danish duo Jesper Toft and Amalie Magelund (21-11 21-13).

Their campaign saw them beat Dutch pair Ties Van Der Lecq and Alyssa Tirtosentono in the semi-finals, coming out on top 22-20 19-21 21-19 in a tightly-contested encounter.

Rory Easton and Alex Green also suffered a final defeat against Denmark’s Andreas Søndergaard and Jesper Toft despite a second game fightback, as they lost 18-21 21-15 19-21.

Their route to the final included a quarter-final win over fourth seeds Ruben Garcia and Carlos Piris of Spain before beating French duo Julien Maio and William Villeger in a thrilling last four match (25-23 21-14).

The men’s singles saw first round exits for Rohan Midha and Cholan Kayan, who lost in three games to Kian-Yu Oei and third seed Mark Caljouw respectively.

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