India's Mahesh Mangaonkar began the New Year the way he ended 2013, with title success on the PSA World Tour beating Scottish top seed Greg Lobban 9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 in the final of the Open du Gard, the PSA Challenger 5 event marking its sixth year at Squash des Arenes here Sunday.
Third seed Mangaonkar made his breakthrough in the semifinals when he crushed second seeded Kuwaiti Ammar Altamimiin in just 28 minutes. Now in the fourth Tour final of his career, the 19-year-old from Mumbai had a point to prove against Lobban, a 21-year-old from Edinburgh enjoying his eighth Tour final.
Mangaonkar's success in last month's Imet Open in Slovakia came after a five-game final victory over Lobban, the result of which is that both players now share a World No.82 ranking.
Revenge looked on the cards when Lobban took the opening game but Mangaonkar struck back to win the next three to claim his title in 64 minutes. The win, his third on the PSA Tour, also set up a nine-match winning streak for the Mumbai teenager -- the longest of his career.
"First win of 2014 in Nimes," Mangaonkar tweeted. "Hopefully more to come this year. Now, preparing for German league in January and Finland next month."
(1) Greg Lobban (SCO) bt Christophe Andre (FRA) 11-8, 11-5, 11-7 (35m)
(3) Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt (2) Ammar Altamimi (KUW) 11-9, 11-2, 11-0 (28m)
(3) Mahesh Mangaonkar (IND) bt (1) Greg Lobban (SCO) 9-11, 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 (64m)