FINNISH INT’L – Qualifiers rule Supreme in Men’s Singles

      Martin Bille Larsen (photo) of Denmark claimed victory in the Finnish International in Helsinki yesterday evening after battling through four days of intense competition which included three […]
 
 
 
ImageMartin Bille Larsen (photo) of Denmark claimed victory in the Finnish International in Helsinki yesterday evening after battling through four days of intense competition which included three rounds in the opening qualifying rounds. In all, the Dane played 8 matches in 4 days to take his maiden European Tour victory after two previous runner-up performances

By Mark Phelan, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

 
In an eventful tournament it was the qualifiers who proved dominant in the men’s singles as three of the four semi-finalists had come through the preliminary rounds. The semi-final of the men’s singles was void of any seeded players after the pre-tournament favourite Marc Zwiebler was beaten in the first round and both Canadian seeds Bobby Milroy and Andrew Dabeka fell to qualifiers in the quarters.

 
The top half of the draw saw an all-Danish match up in the semi-finals. Larsen played Jan O Jorgensen, who was the only player remaining from the main draw. Jorgensen went into the match as slight favourite after beating the fancied Rajiv Ouseph and Hans Kristian Vittinghus in earlier rounds. Larsen to had disposed of quality opposition on his route to the quarter-finals, beating both Kasper Odum and Bobby Milroy. Larsen won in three sets against his compatriot after losing the opening game 9-21 to book his final berth.

 
ImageThe bottom half of the draw saw two qualifiers square off against each other. Carl Baxter of England, who had beaten number 2 seeds Bobby Milroy, beat the fancied Malaysian Kuan Beng Hong who had come through a series of tough 3-game matches to take his place in the semi-final.

 
The final proved to be as exciting as the tournament that preceded it as the championship title was decided in three games. Larsen was quickest out of the blocks and took the opening game 21-18 but Baxter capitalised on a lack of concentration by his Danish opponent and won the second game in emphatic fashion 7-21. Larsen settled and regained his composure to take the third game 21-19 and in doing so claim his maiden EBU win after two previous runner-up finishes.

 
In the ladies’ singles it was a day for the seeded players as the number 2 seed and world number 29 Elizabeth Cann (photo) from England took the title by beating Sara Persson of Sweden in two straight games 21-12, 21-17. The win was a welcome boost for the Jersey native whose last win was the Irish International on Dec 07.

 
There was double delight for Indonesia and Fran Kurniawan with victories in the mixed and men’s doubles. The mixed pairing of Kurniawan and Irawati was seldom troubled in beating Kolding and Kruse of Denmark 21-12, 21-18 while the men’s doubles was closer as Kurniawan with his partner Rendra Wijaya had to endure a three-game battle to claim the  title.

 
The women’s doubles was a straight shoot-out between the number 1 and 2 seeds. It was the Danish number 1 pairing of Lena Frier Kristiansen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl who claimed the title as they effortlessly overcame their Russian opponents Ananina and Russkikh 21-17, 21-15

 
All results here

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