England gave Denmark a scare, the fixture requiring all five matches, whilst Germany had a more relaxed time against hosts Russia.
By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)
A full-strength Denmark side surprisingly struggled against their English opponents on the penultimate day of the European Mixed Team Badminton Championships. With the likes of Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen and Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen appearing for the knockout stages of this tournament, some of the ringers were found wanting.
Fischer Nielsen/Pedersen showed good form to take the mixed in quick time, beating Chris Adcock / Jenny Wallwork 21-13, 21-16. Rajiv Ouseph, also recalled for the knockouts, returned the blow as he brushed the higher-ranked Victor Axelsen aside, levelling the tie in just half an hour.
Walker, who had struggled early in the week, showed good fight against Denmark’s Line Kjaersfeldt to take the first game and lead for the early part of the decider. Kjaersfeldt drew level, however, and despite trading points, the Dane held out at the end to steal the last few points, taking the match 16-21, 21-13, 21-18.
A match that on paper should have decided the fixture provided a shock as world number 1 ranked men’s doubles pair Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen lost their first match of the tournament, going down to English pair Chris Adcock / Andrew Ellis (pictured), who are ranked #24 in the world. The first game predictably went with seeding as the Danes took and maintained a substantial lead, but despite missing out on four game points from 20-16 up in the second, the English pair showed good resolve to force a decider.
Adcock/Ellis started the third slowly, conceding an early 6-point deficit; however, they reversed this before the mid-game interval, and despite another comeback by the Danes from 15-19 down, the English pair held on to take a well-deserved victory, the final score ending 16-21, 22-20, 21-19.
The complete upset was, however, avoided as Heather Olver / Lauren Smith, despite fighting hard in the first game to recover from 19-10 down to Danes Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (pictured top), lost the first game 21-23, and somewhat deflated capitulated the second 13-21.
The high drama was not the case for the Germans, as Russia went down 1-3 in front of a disappointed home crowd. Only Sozonov/Sorokina took a match for the home team on day 5, beating Fuchs/Michels. The Russians took an early lead and held well to take the first game 21-12. They showed good composure from 7-13 down, to fly past their opponents sealing the game 21-17.
Marc Zwiebler, Juliane Schenk (pictured left with opponent Ella Diehl) and men’s pair Kindervater/Schoettler all played out trouble-free matches, never behind more than three points against their Russian counterparts to cement Germany’s place in the final against Denmark.
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