Lucas Claerbout’s first win at an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 500 or higher event came in exacting circumstances.
Sick from food poisoning that had kept him awake all night, Claerbout needed every bit of doggedness against promising youngster Priyanshu Rajawat.
With the Indian taking the opening game at the YONEX-SUNRISE India Open 2022, Claerbout had to reconcile himself to the possibility of having to win in three. Sixty-nine minutes after the match started, Claerbout sank to the ground after the winning point, unable even to celebrate.
“This is the best win of my career. This is the first time I’m in the second round of a Super 500. So I’m very happy to do it,” said the 29-year-old.
“It was a long match. I knew him because he’s also played in Europe. I don’t feel good as I had food poisoning so it was very difficult and it was a good win. I was sick during the night.
“I don’t have the chance to play in Super 500, 750 or 1000 tournaments, so I just had to go on court and do my best. Winning or losing is not important, just do your best. In the second game it was 17-all so I just pushed myself, I didn’t think about my state.
“I’m a singles player and I know I can do it even if I’m not 100 per cent. It’s the first tournament of the year and we’re searching for our game. For him and for me, it’s one of the first tournaments we’ve played at this level.”
Claerbout takes on another young opponent, Ng Tze Yong of Malaysia, in the next round. He was unfazed despite feeling the effects of the long opening match.
“Let’s see how I can manage in my next round, it will be fun,” said the Frenchman.
♦Home favourites Ashwini Ponnappa/Sikki Reddy survived a scare from younger compatriots Janani Ananthakumar/Divya Balasubramaniam, winning 21-7 19-21 21-13.
♦Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong stopped seventh seed Tommy Sugiarto 21-16 14-21 21-5.
♦Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen overcame the loss of the opening game to beat Ajay Jayaram 19-21 21-7 21-14.