SWEDISH INT’L Final – Singles Titles Head to Asia

Finals day at the Swedish International in Stockholm saw both singles titles head to Asia as Indra Bagus ended the fairytale of Viktor Axelsen and Kaori Imabeppu was just too […]


Finals day at the Swedish International in Stockholm saw both singles titles head to Asia as Indra Bagus ended the fairytale of Viktor Axelsen and Kaori Imabeppu was just too strong for Elizabeth Cann of England. Denmark did manage a 50% win ratio with two titles out of four as they claimed the women’s and mixed doubles events.
Article and Images by Mark Phelan (Live in Stockholm)
The talk over the breakfast table in the immaculate Clarion Hotel this morning was all about Viktor Axelsen and could he do the impossible and win this his first ever event in the battle of the qualifiers in the men’s singles final. Unfortunately the Danish Junior came up short today as he was out foxed by the 22-year-old Indonesian Indra Bagus Ade Chandra (pictured). The flawless Indonesian soaked up all the young Dane had to throw at him and broke Axelsens resolve after taking the opening set 21-15. Bagus continued where he left off in the second set and for once this week Axelsen had no answers to the craft of the Indonesian. Bagus pulled out of sight in the second to take the match with a 21-12 win and was overcome with emotion.
“This is a really exciting win for me. I played 8 matches this week but I just felt stronger and stronger as the week went on. Only against Raul Must in the quarter final did I ever feel tired but I knew that once I made this final I had to go and win it. It was a little bit strange on court as I went out with no real tactic; I just let my intuition take me through the match and it work. I’m so happy,” said a content Bagus after his win.
In the women’s singles, there was more Asian joy as Kaori Imabeppu strolled to victory over a miss firing Elizabeth Cann of England. The Shutter from Jersey had no answers to the tempo of the tiny Japanese player and at times it looked as if Imabeppu didswe10_langridgemiddleton_finaln’t even break a sweat as she powered to a 21-15, 21-10 victory.
In the mixed doubles, Danish giant Mads Kolding and his experienced partner Britta Andersen fought back from a set down to beat reigning Swedish International champions Valeriy Atrashchenkov and Elena Prus from Ukraine. The Danes never really found their groove in the opening set and some extremely bad line calls coupled with a misfiring smash from Kolding’s gifted the champions the opener 21-19.
The Danes bounced back in the second and took the match to a deciding rubber with a 21-18 win. In the deciding set it was the Danes who seized their opportunity as Prus suffered a bout of nerves after being called up twice for services faults which clearly prayed on her mind. Kolding and Andersen sealed the victory with a 21-17 win in the third to dethrone the champions and take the crown back to Copenhagen.
The English duo of Langridge and Middleton (pictured) deservedly won the men’s doubles after a faultless week in which they never dropped a set en route to the title. Even the distraction of Middleton breaking two rackets and in the end having to borrow one of his partners was not enough to stop the English steamroller as the vocal Brits took the title with a 21-11, 21-18 victory over Christian Skovgaard and Mikkel Elbjorn of Denmark.
In the longest match of the day, which stretched to one hour on court, Helle Nielsen and Marie Ropke of Denmark do what they do best which is winning titles. The experienced Danes had a dog fight with the even more experienced Lotte Jonathans and Paulien Van Doormalen from The Netherlands. The Dutch girls obviously in good form after their recent trip to the Korean Super Series.
swe10_neilsenropke_finalLike Kolding and Andersen before them Neilsen and Ropke (pictured) let the first set slip but bounced back to level it up with a 21-15 win in the second. In the deciding set the Danes let 16-11 and looked to be cruising but a run of 5 points from Van Dooremalen and Jonathans saw them level the set and had the crowd on the edge of their seats. But the comeback was short lived as Ropke and Neilsen stepped it up another gear to take the title with a 21-18 win in the third.
“It was a good result for us here as we have not played since in Scottish International back in November. I enjoyed the game very much and enjoyed the win even more and it’s always good to win against such a good pair like Paulien and Lotte,” said Ropke after her victory
So ends another Swedish International. As far as International Challenges go the organisation, standard of hotel and quality of the arena are second to none in Europe. I would go as far as saying that the Swedish International is only an International Challenge by name as the facilities are more akin to Grand Prix and Grand Prix gold and, dare I say it, some Super Series events. Maybe one day soon Sweden will have a Grand Prix or even Super Series, what I do know is that if it ever did happen, the quality of the event would be second to none.

For all results from finals day in Stockholm, click HERE.

About Mark Phelan