Top seeds Heather Olver and Lauren Smith raced to the Orleans International 2016 women’s doubles title in France on Sunday as England’s national champions picked up more valuable qualification points in the Race to Rio standings.
Olver and Smith overcame home hopes Delphine Delrue and Lea Palermo, the unseeded French pair who had taken out the number two seeds in the second round, 21-19, 21-8.
Victory at the Palais de Sports was their first title since landing the USA International in Florida as an unseeded pair in December.
“We’re really happy to have won this week, it’s good to take confidence going forward,” said Smith. “In terms of Rio we are just focusing on performing every game, one at a time.”
Their run to the Orleans final – they were beaten finalists in 2015 – had included a pivotal victory over compatriots Chloe Birch and Sarah Walker in the quarter-finals.
In the final, they opened up two crucial leads at 9-4 and 16-13 as they won the opening game.
In the second, the top seeds showed their class when they found themselves 11-0 up before atoning for last year’s final defeat to the Stoeva sisters of Bulgaria in convincing style.
Olver and Smith will now travel to this week’s Malaysian Open near Kuala Lumpur in buoyant mood.
Report courtesy of Badminton England