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Iceland title is step in right direction, says Pugh


Unseeded Jessica Pugh and Sarah Walker won their first senior title together after the English duo lifted the Iceland International on Sunday afternoon.

The world number 174 pair beat compatriots Chloe Birch and Jenny Wallwork, the third seeds, 21-10, 10-21, 21-17 over 40 minutes to come away with the women’s doubles title.

Victory atoned for Pugh’s disappointment at missing out on her mixed doubles tilt with regular partner Ben Lane, as the pair exited at the semi-final stage.

“I'm really happy we played at the level we did,” said the emerging Pugh.

“We beat a few good pairs on our way to the final and to play against a really good English pair in the final was tough because we'd not played them before.

“But we had a plan and it worked! I feel like it’s a really good step in my development.”

This was Pugh and Walker’s fourth event since coming together at last Autumn’s Swiss International.

And they advanced to the final in relative comfort, having dropped just one game in Reykjavik.

Against Birch and Wallwork they won the opener before the experienced duo leveled incisively by the same score, 21-10.

However Pugh and Walker soon took top honours by winning the decider 21-17.

“I was disappointed with my mixed loss because we had beaten the pair before and had high hopes for the title, so I had to refocus," added Pugh.

She will now prepare for both the senior and junior National Championships before competing in the upcoming Austrian International.

Earlier, Chris Coles and Adam Hall underlined their rising status together as the Anglo-Scottish pair beat the young all-English partnership of Lane and Sean Vendy.

Coles and Hall won a tight final 21-19, 21-19 before going for a dip in the local blue lagoon spa.

Unfortunately Pugh and Walker had no time to celebrate in the cold environs as they had a flight to catch.

At the Syed Modi International, Heather Olver and Lauren Smith exited at the first round stage last week in Lucknow.


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