Leaders of the badminton community in Sri Lanka, Niluka and Dinuka Karanaratna faced, what could be, one of their last international tournaments last week at Sandefjord, Norway. The Norwegian Open was held from the 16th to 19th November and the brothers competed in both the singles and doubles categories in the main draws.
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The elder brother of the two, Niluka Karanaratna, was seeded third in the tournament with an international ranking of 88. He was off to a good start in the first round against Mateusz Debowski with a comfortable straight sets win with scores reading 22-20, 21-8. Round 2 was against Denmark’s Ditlev Jaeger Holm and the Lankan bagged the first set with a score of 21-17. However, Holm countered and took home the next two sets and the match 21-14 and 21-19, ending Karunaratna’s journey in the singles draw.
Currently holding a world rank of 176, Dinuka Karunaratna faced a similar fate as his brother as he saw exit in the 2nd round as well. Having beaten Lars Schaenzler of Germany in the first round with an impressive score of 21-19,21-16 Dinuka face an unfortunate defeat to qualifier Adrian Dziolko in the second round. Much like his brother he managed to start strong with winning the first set but went down tamely in the next two to throw in the towel. Scores read 17-21,21-18,21-10.
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The pair ganged up once again in the doubles category to face off two locals in the first round. With a comfortable win of 21-8,21-14 they moved up to face the top seeds from Sweden and came out victors with a score of 21-13,21-7. Knocking the top seeds out of the park, they rode to the quaterfinals. This proved to be a rather tough match for the duo as they went to head to head with another Sweden pair Borg and Sahlberg.
Winning the first set 21-14, the Swedish looked to be on their way to the semifinals. But the Lankans turned it around for themselves and bagged the next two sets 21-16,21-13 booking that to half semifinal spot.
An English pair stood in the way of the final for the Karunaratna’s as the semifinals and they made sure to bring them heat. Mathew Clair (4th seed) and David King teamed up to take the brothers on a thrilling three setter. 21-17 was the score of the first set and was in the hold of the Lankan pair. 21 points away from booking a spot in the finals, the Karunaratna’s looked confident of the win.
But as fate would have it, they let the second set out of their grasp 21-15 and went into the third and final set to decide the victor. After a tightly contested 44 points both teams were tied at 22 points all. The team to win two consecutive points would go on to win the match. It was the English men who stood strong at the end of 56 minutes on court as they seized the win with a mere 2-point lead to close out the third set 24-22.
The Scottish Open, a Grand Prix event, will follow right after starting on the 22nd of November going on till the 26th at the Emirates Arena. Both Niluka and Dinuka will play the tournament same as in Norway, partnering up for doubles. While the draw of the event has not been released yet, ThePapare.com will bring you the latest updates from Norway and Scotland. So stay-logged!