EURO CHAMPS 2017 SF – New champion coming

Anders Antonsen stunned defending champion Viktor Axelsen, while Rajiv Ouseph saved two match points to set up an unexpected men’s singles final at the 2017 European Badminton Championships. By Don […]

Anders Antonsen stunned defending champion Viktor Axelsen, while Rajiv Ouseph saved two match points to set up an unexpected men’s singles final at the 2017 European Badminton Championships.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Yohan Nonotte / Badmintonphoto (live)

It looked to be a very predictable day when the semi-finals unfolded at the European Badminton Championships in Kolding, Denmark on Saturday.  Until the last two matches, it looked as if the top two seeds would end up in each final or at least last year’s finalists, as in the case of the women’s singles.

Men’s singles finally changed that in the last match of the afternoon.  20-year-old Anders Antonsen, who had lost tamely to Viktor Axelsen (pictured top) in their only international encounter, at this year’s All England, won in two games to reach the biggest final of his career so far.  Antonsen may not have become the first teenager to win a Grand Prix Gold or Superseries title but he may well become the youngest ever European men’s singles champion.

Although Antonsen’s opponent Rajiv Ouseph (pictured right) was one of four second seeds to book a spot in the finals, his win over Hans-Kristian Vittinghus was not exactly predictable.  Ouseph may have an edge in their head-to-head record, but Vittinghus won his first Superseries title last year, while Ouseph has never even reached the final four of such an event.  Indeed, Vittinghus beat Ouseph en route to that Australian Open win last summer and has beaten the Englishman all three times they have met on a Superseries stage.

But things are different at the .  In fact, Ouseph had won all three meetings with the Dane in European team and individual events.  In Kolding, things were looking more like they had in Australia, though.  As he did on that occasion, Vittinghus took the first game and had match point in the second.  Once again, Ouseph surged ahead to snatch the second game but unlike last time, on Saturday in Kolding, he kept the momentum and it was he who ended up with the 21-16 win in the deciding game.

Gilmour is back

Kirsty Gilmour (pictured) of Scotland is the only player other than Antonsen not seeded first or second.  She is, however, the 2016 runner-up and her seeding is largely related to her post-Olympic recovery.  She signalled her return much earlier in the year when she took the Austrian Open title but she added the Orleans title to that one and she hasn’t lost to her semi-final oppeonent Sabrina Jaquet since 2012.

Gilmour did indeed prevail and will again face Olympic, World, and defending European Champion Carolina Marin in the final.  Marin had little trouble with Denmark’s Mette Poulsen and that 44 minutes was the longest she had spent on court all week.

Kolding wins in Kolding

The men’s doubles featured an all-Danish semi-final round and one of these was a repeat of the 2016 final, as Mads Conrad-Petersen and Mads Pieler Kolding (pictured) won in two close games over compatriots Kim Astrup / Anders Skaarup Rasmussen.

The final will pit the defending champions against 2012 winners Boe/Mogensen, who missed last year’s edition while Mogensen was recovering from a brain aneurysm.  They had an easy time against compatriots Christiansen/Daugaard.

Differing fortunes for same-name pairs

Two unseeded mixed pairs had dream runs to the final.  Sam and Chloe Magee (pictured below) had beaten 2012 champions Mateusiak and Zieba on Friday and another seed in the first round but they were no match for two-time defending champions Fischer Nielsen/Pedersen.

After the two unrelated Madses won, and before the Magee siblings took to the court, another pair with identical surnames – in this case married couple Chris and Gabrielle Adcock (pictured left) – won their semi-final.  The English pair beat surprise semi-finalists Ronan Labar and Audrey Fontaine of France to reach the European final for the first time.

Christinna Pedersen will assume her familiar role of attempting to win in two disciplines.  In the opening match of the afternoon, she and Kamilla Rytter Juhl shut down the last Russians, Anastasia Chervyakova and Olga Morozova, in straight games.  Pedersen has won two titles in the last two editions and she is favoured to do the same on Sunday.

The women’s final will feature both the defending European Champions and the European Games gold medallists.  Unlike their Irish counterparts, Bulgaria’s sibling pair Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva (pictured bottom) were able to make it through to the final.  They beat Smith and Walker of England in straight games and will begin proceedings on Sunday by challenging the Danish favourites in only their second meeting with the only European pair ranked above them.

Finals line-up
WD:  Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) [1] vs. Gabriela Stoeva / Stefani Stoeva (BUL) [2]
MD:  Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (DEN) [1] vs. Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding (DEN) [2]
WS:  Carolina Marin (ESP) [1] vs. Kirsty Gilmour (SCO) [7]
MS:  Rajiv Ouseph (ENG) [2] vs. Anders Antonsen (DEN) [5]
XD:  Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) [1] vs. Chris Adcock / Gabrielle Adcock (ENG) [2]

Click here for complete semi-final results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @