DUTCH OPEN – First major title for Mia Blichfeldt

Mia Blichfeldt was all smiles in Almere, Netherlands where she scooped the first major title of her young career at the Dutch Open. She had never won a tournament of […]

Mia Blichfeldt was all smiles in Almere, Netherlands where she scooped the first major title of her young career at the . She had never won a tournament of this – or its pre-2018 equivalent – status before.

By Raphael Sachetat. Photos: Arthur Van der Velde / Badmintonphoto (live)

Last year, it had been a fierce 3-game battle. This time, in the final of the Dutch Open, Mia Blichfeldt (photo) beat Qi Xuefei in straight games 21-18, 21-16.  It was the first title on the new BWF tour for the 21-year-old Dane, who is now ranked 20th in the world and is Denmark’s best, three rows above Line Kjaersfeldt. The Dane was very sharp all throughout the week and left little for any of her opponents as she beat all players she met in straight games – Mariya Mitsova, Fabienne Deprez, Chloe Birch, Rachel Honderich – before edging the Chinese.

Qi Xuefei (photo), however, was pleased with her performance this week as she reached a first major final even if she could not be satisfied with her performance today: “I am studying French very hard to pass my exam and become a French citizen soon, so I don’t have so much time to train.  Also, I feel like I’m missing a bit of cardio to beat that type of players, but I am confident that I will be able to match these players when I can go back to full time training,” said the Chinese-born player, who lives in Britanny, in western France.

For Mia Blichfeldt, things will be slightly more difficult next week and the week after as she was drawn both times to play the Olympic champion Carolina Marin, in the first rounds of both the Denmark and French Opens.

No title for home favourites

Dutch shuttlers had two shots at gold today, in men’s and women’s doubles, but things didn’t go their way in Almere. First, Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen went down to the Stoeva sisters in straight games, before their compatriots Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling – who have been playing some fantastic badminton lately  – were beaten in three games by Indonesia’s Arya Pangkaryanira and Santoso.

While the men’s and women’s doubles winners had both won this event in the past (in 2013 for the indonesians and 2015 for the Bulgarian ladies) England’s Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith (photo) were in a bid to keep the title they won just last year.  The British duo showed their first seed status was no fluke, shutting down France’s young pair of Gicquel and Delrue 21-15, 21-15.

A first name for himself

Last but not least, both Sourabh Verma (photo) was standing in the way of Cheam June Wei, who was targeting a first major title as well. Sameer’s older brother made sure he made a first name for himself in the last match of the day and beat the young Malaysian in straight games, depriving Malaysia from a hat trick in the last three tournaments after Lee Zii Jia had won in Taipei and Goh Jin Wei scooped the Youth Olympic gold. Sourabh played a solid match and beat his young opponent 21-19, 21-13.

Although Sourabh had already won his first Grand Prix title before his little brother burst onto the scene, Sameer soon stole the family spotlight by reaching a final in late 2016 and then grabbing his first Grand Prix Gold title last year.  Now, he and Sameer each have two titles in 2018, though one of Sameer’s is a Super 300 while Sourabh has just added another Super 100 to the Russian Open crown he earned in the summer.

Final results
WS:  Mia Blichfeldt (DEN) [1] beat Qi Xuefei (CHN)  21-16, 21-18
WD:  Gabriela Stoeva / Stefani Stoeva (BUL) [1] beat Selena Piek / Cheryl Seinen (NED) [3]  21-17, 21-18
XD:  Marcus Ellis / Lauren Smith (ENG) [1] beat Thom Gicquel / Delphine Delrue (FRA)  21-15, 21-15
MD:  Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pangkaryanira / Ade Yusuf Santoso (INA) [2] beat Jelle Maas / Robin Tabeling (NED) [5]  21-19, 17-21, 21-11
MS:  Sourabh Verma (IND) beat Cheam June Wei (MAS)  21-19, 21-13

Click here for complete results

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Raphaël Sachetat

About Raphaël Sachetat

Raphael is the Chief Editor of Badzine International. He is the founder of the website together with Jean François Chauveau. After many years writing for the BWF and many publications around the world about badminton, he now leads a team of young and dynamic writers for Badzine.