EUROPEAN CHAMPS 2008 – Europe’s Badminton Superpowers Shine

It was Day 3 of the European Championships and the superpowers start to emerge from the mist. As we head into the semi-finals, it’s the Danish, English and Germans who […]
ImageIt was Day 3 of the and the superpowers start to emerge from the mist. As we head into the semi-finals, it’s the Danish, English and Germans who once again have emerged as the dominant European nations with the French and Poles trying hard to hang onto their coat tails. Under the TV lights in Herning, it was the home nation that dominated the TV court as all five televised matches ended up in wins for the home team.

By Mark Phelan, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live from Herning)

In the men’s singles, the valiant efforts of Ireland’s Scott Evans ended at the hands of tournament favourite Kenneth Jonassen. Jonassen was rarely troubled as has been the case for the whole tournament as he beat the Irishman 21-9, 21-14. Jonassen will play compatriot Jan O Jorgensen as the lesser-known Dane ended the European aspirations of German Dieter Domke in a two-game victory. Joachim Persson had to come from one game down to eventually see off the challenge of the sole remaining Dutch player Eric Pang 11-21, 21-18, 21-11. The task of taking the title out of Denmark’s many hands now sits firmly on the shoulder of Przemyslaw Wacha as the number two seed powered home against Spain’s Pablo Abian.

It was not a pretty match today, but I don’t care, because now I’m in the European semi-final, Jorgensen said of his win. I can play my own game tomorrow, because Kenneth is the favourite and pressure is on him.”

ImageThe ladies’ singles has an all too familiar line up to the semi-finals. All top four European players have reached the semi-finals and Germany, while having two players in the last four, will be rank outsiders to make the final. Pi Hongyan (photo) has coasted effortlessly to the semi-finals and in today’s quarter final she brushed aside the vain attempts of Judith Meulendijks in a one-sided match 21-9, 21-17. Hongyan, the darling of French badminton, will play Xu Huaiwen from Germany in tomorrow’s semi-final.

Meanwhile, the German number 1 struggled to see off the challenge of Petya Nedelcheva of Bulgaria 22-20, 21-19. Juliane Schenk, the second German, was able to watch the day’s play unfold from the stand as she received a walkover from Tracy Hallam due to the Englishwoman’s recurring back injury. Tomorrow will not be as easy for the German as she comes face to face against Tine Rasmussen from Denmark who is arguably the world’s best women’s singles player, if current form is anything to go by. Rasmussen flew in under the radar once again with a 21-18, 21-16 over Yao Jie of the Netherlands.

In the men’s doubles, Paaske and Rasmussen confirmed their number 1 seeding as they left their English opponents Adcock and George stunned after a 21-11, 21-12 defeat. They will now play Kehlhoffner and Stoyanov (photo) after the French pair came through an epic three-game match against Fuchs and Spitko from Germany 21-15, 16-21, 21-15.

Tomorrow will be a test of stamina for Erwin Kehlhoffner as the semi-final will be his seventh match since Wednesday after his run in the men’s singles event. Eriksen and Lungaard Hansen completed the Danish rout as they were equally convincing in beating the Belgians Claes and Mawet 21-11, 21-10. They now meet Hopp and Kindervater as the German pair beat Adcock and Middleton from England in two straight games.

The ladies’ doubles sees four different nations represented in tomorrow’s semi-finals. Hot favourites will be the English veterans Emms and Kellogg, who blew away Scotland’s Bankier and Gao 21-9, 21-13 in today’s quarter-final. They face Bergblom and Persson from Sweden, who caused a minor upset by beating Russian golden girls Ananina and Russkikh 18-21, 21-17, 21-18. The bottom end of the draw sees Danish number 2 seeds Rytter Juhl and Frier Kristiansen safely through to tomorrow’s semi-final where they will meet Russian pair Vislova and Sorokina.

In the mixed discipline, Gail Emms and Nathan Robertson continue to wind back the years as they grow in stature as the tournament progresses. Today they only dropped a total of 14 points in an easy two-game win. Clark and Kellogg, on the other hand, had a much more strenuous day as they took three games to see off pretenders to the throne Blair and Bankier 13-21, 21-14, 21-14. Thomas Laybourn retired through illness leaving the door open for second Danish couple Mogensen and Nielsen, who face Clark and Kellogg tomorrow. Mateusiak and Kostiuczyk complete the quartet of semi-final pairings.

All today’s results can be found HERE

About Mark Phelan