'Lucky number seven' proved just that for England’s Toby Penty after the 24 year old won his first ever European circuit singles title – in his seventh final - with victory in Sunday’s Swedish International final.
Penty first reached a European circuit final - the Polish Open - in 2012 but, despite six previous attempts in the likes of Switzerland, Estonia, Greece and Wales, has had to wait five years before finally taking top step on the podium.
The title win in Sweden caps an impressive opening to 2017 for Penty, who has now enjoyed back-to-back European circuit tournament finals, having been runner up in Estonia seven days ago.
And just like Tallinn this time last week, Penty, seeded sixth, produced some excellent form in Stockholm with notable wins over seeded opposition and higher ranked rivals en route to the final. The defeat of home favourite Mathius Berg and a semi final victory over Danish second seed Kim Bruun particularly impressive.
Penty had admitted disappointment after missed opportunities in the Estonian final defeat but made no mistakes here.
Sunday’s final saw the Englishman drawn against Indonesia’s Wibowo Setyaldi Putra but the 22 year old failed to trouble Penty during the 32 minute in which the title was assured with a 21-12, 21-11 scoreline.
"I am really happy with how the last two weeks have been as a whole and that the only match I have lost was when holding two match points in the Estonia final", Penty told us.
"This week in Sweden has been tough as I was physically and mentally a bit tired from last week but I felt I played well when I really needed to on the big points.
"I have worked hard on getting myself stronger and fitter - it's been a slow and hard process but I feel the feel the consistency I have shown the last two weeks has proved it is paying off."
And Penty, who insisted he was out to prove a point to sport's funding bodies, re-iterated that he continues to use the decision to cut every penny of funding from the GB Programme as a motivation.
"I'm just happy that I am, once again, able to show that the guys training in Milton Keynes are still putting in the hard work even during this tough time with the funding decision hanging over us all."
The togetherness and team spirit in the face of recent adversity has not been more evident than with the messages of congratulations, Penty has received from across the GB Badminton programme
— Rajiv Ouseph (@rajivouseph) January 22, 2017
Big congrats @TobyPenty winning in Sweden. What a start to the year 🙏🏼 clear eyes, full hearts— Jess Pugh (@jessRpugh) January 22, 2017
Now all eyes are now on Thursday’s world rankings where Penty can expect to re-enter the world’s top 100 as he closes in on his career best ranking.
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