One title for Kiwis at Badminton International

New Zealand No 1 Joe Wu pulled out a top comeback to become the solitary homegrown winner at the Auckland Badminton International on Sunday.

Wu defeated Malaysia's Yognedran Khrishnan in straight games in the men's singles final but had to fight hard in the second game, coming back from a deficit of 15-5 to take the title 21-16 22-20.

The 35-minute victory will help Wu with his international ranking of No 126, but it will also give him confidence after he was beaten in straight games by Khrishnan in April.

Earlier, Wu easily made it past Waikato player Asher Richardson in the semifinals, while Khrishnan had a tough three-game tussle over former top Kiwi junior Chance Cheng.

Meanwhile, Waikato-based Englishwoman Tracey Hallam won the women's singles title in straight games after defeating compatriot Fontaine Mica Champman in a display of control and aggression. Hallam, 38, is a former Commonwealth Games singles winner and has been ranked in the top 10 in the world.

Hallam also picked up the women's doubles title by teaming up with Australia's Renuga Veeran to beat a Vietnamese pair in straight games.

Australia dominated the men's doubles, with two pairs in the finals, as well as the mixed draw. Robin Middleton, a former world top 20 player, combined with Ross Smith for the men's doubles title, while Smith teamed with Veeran to score the mixed title.

Earlier, New Zealand's hopes in the mixed were vanquished in the semifinals as Waikato brother and sister pairing Oliver and Susannah Leydon Davis lost to Raymond Tam and Gronya Somerville, while Kevin Dennerly-Minturn and Kritteka Gregroy were beaten by Smith and Veeran.

The majority of players from Auckland now move on to the Victorian International in a bid to gain ranking points towards qualification for next year's Commonwealth Games.

- APNZ

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