Smashing return

PETALING JAYA: Former national champion Misbun Ramdan Misbun made a pleasant return to the international stage after a lapse of 18 months by reaching the main draw of the Spanish International Challenge.

The 30-year-old, the son of former great Datuk Misbun Sidek, proved he still has it in him when he successfully overcame a gruelling three-round qualifiers.

Ramdan, who last competed in the Bangladesh International Challenge in December 2019, defeated Alvaro Vasquez of Spain 21-17, 21-10 and Jonathan Matias of Brazil 12-21, 21-19, 21-18 on Wednesday and showed no sign of fatigue to chalk up a convincing 21-10, 21-13 win over Germany’s Brian Holtschke yesterday.

However, Ramdan faces a tall order in the first round of the tournament proper as he is pitted against Denmark’s Mads Christophersen, the Orleans Masters finalist in April.

Ramdan, who emulated his father in becoming a national champion in 2012, has not given up on the sport since quitting the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) in 2013.

Ramdan played on as an independent with Nusa Mahsuri and won the 2014 Romanian International for his fifth international title before a major injury halted his progress.

He underwent two operations after rupturing his Achilles tendon in 2015 and his career went downhill since.

Meanwhile, national back-up men’s pair Yap Roy King-Nurfirdaus Azman are also through to the main draw after beating Dutch opponents Gijs Duijs-Dyon Van Wijlick 23-21, 21-18.