Round-up: Russ and Kelly claim Croatia Open mixed doubles title
England’s Jonty Russ and Sian Kelly brought home a superb mixed doubles gold medal from the Croatian Open.
The pair had to work hard for it, pulling off two thrilling wins in the latter stages of the tournament and fighting back from a set down in both the semi-final and final.
In the last four, France’s Mael Cattoen and Camille Pognante stormed to a 21-7 opening game win, but the English duo roared back to a 7-21, 21-13, 21-16 win.
That set up a final with Germany’s top-100 ranked pair of Patrick Scheiel and Franziska Volkman, who showed their experience to narrowly edge the opener 21-18.
But once again Russ and Kelly would not be deterred and won a thrilling second set to take it to a decider.
And they sealed a fine 18-21, 22-20, 21-16 win to round off an excellent few days for English players in Dubrovnik.
It was the second doubles medal of the week for Russ, who also won a bronze in the men’s event alongside Alex Green.
Three wins on the bounce kept them in competition going into the final day, with a semi-final contest against Donovan Willard Wee and Jia Hao Howin Wong of Singapore.
The English team won a thrilling first game 23-21, but couldn’t quite maintain it for a place in the final going down 21-23, 21-9, 21-8.
Cholan Kayan also secured a podium place in the men’s singles.
The 19-year-old shuttler produced some excellent badminton over the week to reach the semi-finals.
And although Nguyen Hai Dang had too much for Kayan, winning 21-17, 21-13, it was still an impressive week for the English youngster.
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