ANOTHER BUSY WEEKEND – National Champs

As often, the first week end of February was the time for National Championships everywhere in Europe. The results from Denmark, the Netherlands, England and France provide the strongest indicator […]

ImageAs often, the first week end of February was the time for Championships everywhere in Europe. The results from Denmark, the Netherlands, England and France provide the strongest indicator of current European form just before then Thomas and Uber Cup qualifying stage. Scotland and Russia also held their events this weekend.

By Aaron Wong. Pictures : Badmintonphoto (Sven Heise, Alan Spink, Yohan Nonotte)

The Danish competition is notable for the absence of perennial favourite Peter Gade in men’s singles, Thomas Laybourn in the mixed and resurgent Britta Anderssen in mixed doubles. Andersen’s partner , Joachim Fischer Nieslen, however, was granted with the title, with another partner, former top national player, Ann Lou Jorgensen. Kenneth Jonassen advanced in straight sets over Joachim Persson in the semi-finals to meet the cream of the next generation in Jan Ø. Jørgensen for the finals. However, in spite of his expected victory, the Dane was close of losing in the quarter final, when he saved some match points against Peter Mikkelsen.

The most surprising outcome is the final of the men’s double event, where title holder Eriksen and Lundgaard lost to Boe and Mogensen in straight games.“we had everything under control in the beginning and was leading 11/5 – I think. Then Carsten started to serve very well and we did not have any rallies. It was just serve, return and maybe one hit more. Second set, we were leading 11/10 and then Carsten had a good serve period again” explained Lundgaard, hinting they’d be back for the European title.

Results
Women’s singles: Tina Rasmussen def. Nanna Brosolat-Jensen 21-18, 21-10
Men’s singles: Kenneth Jonassen def. Jan Ø. Jørgensen 21-17, 21-19
Mixed Doubles: Joachim Fischer/Ann-Lou Jørgensen def. Lars Paaske/Kamilla Rytter Juhl 9-21, 21-18, 21-11
Men’s Doubles: Carsten Mogensen/Mathias Boe def. Jens Eriksen/Martin Lundgaard Hansen. 21-17, 21-14
Women’s Doubles: Mette Van Dalm/Helene Kirkegaard def. Marie Røpke / Helle Nielsen 26-24, 21-1

GERMANY : Zwiebler’s symbolic win

In Germany, the battle between Marc Zwiebler (pictured) and Bjoern Joppien was a symbolic one as both men are within reach of getting a spot for the Olympics, and, unless both enter the top 16, there will be one spot only. And Zwiebler has the edge for now after another success in Sweden last week. He was crowned National Champion 21/19 – 21/13. Xu Huaiwen, on her side, beat Juliane Schenk in straight games. “I was very tired but I still believed I could win this match. But at the beginning of the competition I didn’t think I could win, I just wanted to have fun on court, something I haven’t felt for a long time” said Xu after her 21/16 – 16/21 – 21/7 victory.

Results :
MS : Marc Zwiebler beat Bjoern Joppien : 21/19 – 21/14
LS : Xu Huaiwen beat Juliane Schenk : 21/16 – 16/21 – 21/7
MD : Spitko/Fuchs beat Kindervater/Neubacher : 21/13 – 21/18
MxD : Kindervater/Piotrowski beat Hopp/Overzier : 21/19 – 21/10
WD : Overzier/Mette beat Kohler/Pfeiffer : 21/14 – 21/8

ImageFRANCE – New kid on the block

Brice Leverdez (photo) of France was the only surprise of the day when he defeated former double national Champion Simon Maunoury in the semi final, then the regional Alasce born player Erwin Kelhloffner. The title had eluded Kehlhoffner three times already and in spite of getting 3 match points, the latter bowed to his younger compatriot Leverdez. A symbolic win there again as both finalists are in a close race for the only qualifying spot for Beijing. Pi Hongyan spent very little time on court this week end, winning easily all her matches to get her 4th straight title.

Results :
Brice Leverdez beat Erwin Kehlhoffner : 20/22 – 22/20 – 21/11
Pi Hongyan beat Weny Rahmawati : 21/7 – 21/9
Kehlhoffner/Stoyanov beat Constantin/Leverdez : 21/13 – 21/10
Eymard/Rahmawati beat Despierre/Choinet : 21/17 – 21/7
Stoyanov/Eymard beat Choinet/Careme : 21/16 – 21/12

THE NETHERLANDS – Judith takes over

The top seeds stamped their authority all over the Dutch competition. For the finals, the match of the day both on paper and in reality belonged to Dicky Palyama versus Eric Pang in men’s singles, and the score 21-17 21-23 21-19 going Palyama’s way by the narrowest of margins in one hour and one minute.

Eric’s girlfriend and the top ranked women’s singles player in the country Yao Jie is nowhere to be found on the schedule. Unsurprisingly then, Judith Meulendijks defeated Rachel van Cutsen 21-15, 21-13 for the women’s singles title.

Jurgen Wouters went out in the earlier rounds of mixed doubles and came runner up with Ruud Bosch in the men’s doubles final against unseeded Dennis Lens/Joeli Residay, the score 21-16, 18-21, 19-21. Ruud Bosch’s other appearance of the day was joining Paulien Van Dooremalen to win in mixed doubles over Jorrit De Ruiter/Ilse Vaessen 21-13, 23-25, 21-16.

ImageENGLAND – Tracey Hallam in doubles !

It is a shame for the fans that former World Champion Gail Emms has taken ill. The English love watching mixed doubles. The door was left wide open for world number nine pair Donna Kellogg and Anthony Clark and they marched through beating Liza Smith/Robin Middleton and 21-9, 21-7. In the battle of former World Championship silver medallists, Kellog/Clark outclassed Simon Archer in the semi-finals.
Donna Kellogg and also both her partners had a chance to take home two titles each. At Gail Emms persuasion, singles specialist Tracey Hallam teamed up with Kellogg (photo)and they went all the way to claim the women’s doubles final over second seeds Natalie Munt/Jo Nicholas 22-24 21-13 21-14.
Elizabeth Cann defended her women’s singles title and prevented double glory for Tracey Hallam. 21-15, 21-19.

Robert Blair and David Lindley the number one seeds failed to reach the men’s doubles final. The reformed partnership of Anthony Clark and Nathan Robertson then won against Richard Eidestedt/Chris Langridge, 21-11, 21-12, and thereby bestowing on Clark his seventh consecutive men’s title.

World ranked number 53 Rajiv Ouseph toppled former top English representative Aamir Ghaffar in the men’s singles final 21-15, 12-21, 21-11 to take his first national title. Andrew Smith and Nicholas Kidd did not take part in this competition.

CANADA
Across the Atlantic, Mike Beres appeared in two finals. He won men’s doubles partnering William Milroy by defeating Richard Liang/Alvin Lau 21-14, 21-10.
Charmaine Reid, ever the persistent fighter, appeared in two finals too but her luck ended there. Anna Rice overcame her 21-7, 21-10 in women’s singles. Charmaine was ousted in straight sets in women’s doubles too.
The upset of the tournament was number one seed Bobby Milroy losing to nineteen year old David Snider in the semi-final who went on to take the men’s singles crown over second seed Stephan Wojcikiewicz
INDIA
India have a number of men’s singles players they can count on which bodes well for their Thomas Cup aspirations. It was Chetan Anand’s turn in the spotlight when he beat Arvind Bhat 21-14, 22-20 in the final of the72nd senior National badminton championship.
World number 29 Saina Nehwal triumphed over the second highest ranked and world number 60 Trupti Murgunde 21-11, 21-10 to claim the women’s singles crown.

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Aaron Wong

About Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong only ever coveted badminton's coolest shot - a reverse backhand clear. He is renowned for two other things: 1) Writing tournament previews that adjust the focus between the panorama of the sport's progress, down to the microscopic level of explaining the striking characteristics of players; 2) Dozing off during men's doubles at the London Olympic Games. Contact him at: aaron @ badzine.net