BELGIAN INT’L 2010 – Deutschland über alles!

Germany could make a clean sweep in the Yonex Belgian International in Leuven on Sunday with representatives in each of the five finals. By Elm Vandevorst, live in Leuven.  Photos: […]

Germany could make a clean sweep in the Yonex Belgian International in Leuven on Sunday with representatives in each of the five finals.

By Elm Vandevorst, live in Leuven.  Photos: Fons Van Der Vorst (live)

After the qualifications on Thursday and the first rounds played yesterday, the wheat had been separated from the chaff at the Belgian International. After five editions in the town of Mechelen, the tournament moved to a bigger hall in nearby Leuven. The Belgian International always attracts a large group of players from their neighbouring countries.  This year’s edition is no exception with an impressive German delegation in the closing stages.

No fewer than seven participants out of ten are representing Belgium’s neighbouring country and two of the five finals are all-German. The dominant position of “Bundesrepublik Deutschland” was even more highlighted as four of these German players will appear in two different finals: Michael Fuchs, Birgit Overzier (pictured), Sandra Marinello and Johannes Schöttler. The first pair is in on cruise control so far and has not had to play longer than 30 minutes so far and were far  too strong for first seeded Ukrainians Atrashchenkov/Prus with 21-19 21-10. Schöttler and Marinello, on the other hand, have an opportunity to take revenge for the lost final at the National Championships in February when Overzier (and Ingo Kindervater) beat them 21-19 21-18.

Fourth final appearance for Kindervater

Also Kindervater might take a title back home, at least if he wins the men’s doubles. Kindervater is well known at the Belgian International as he takes part in his fourth final ever. Alongside Schöttler the tall Kindervater beat the reigning champions, Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder, on their way to the final. The Dutchmen tried their best, but had to accept defeat 21-15, 12-21, 21-13. And yet again there will be some compatriots waiting on the other side of the net. Oliver Roth is only playing his second tournament with Michael Fuchs and at the Bitburger Open they were brought to a standstill by the top seeded Danes Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen. Nowadays there’s only one opponent left to prevent them from claiming the title.

A more diverse field of contestants in the remaining three events, set off by the highly anticipated men’s singles. With the two top seeds, Marc Zwiebler and Eric Pang (pictured) still in the running the crowd expects them to fulfil the expectations. Pang had already overcome Ville Lang in the quarters and had to get past the Russian giant Vladimir Ivanov in the semis. The Russian shuttler tried to use his length to his advantage with powerful smashes and a solid defense, a tactic which already proved his value against his previous adversaries. But Pang was more than ready and forced his opponent to make the errors, leading to a 21-16 win. The Dutchman seemed a bit tired in set 2, but so was his opponent. Both players made more and more mistakes, however it was Pang who took a small lead resulting in a 21-19 victory.

Against such a player you have to play either very deep or very short. I tried to let him run all over the court” explained Pang “I don’t often meet such a tall player, so it’s always tricky.

The Dutch hope?

The Netherlands have another card up their sleeve with women’s doubles pair  Lotte Jonathans and Paulien Van Dooremalen. The twosome started to train together one year ago when Jonathans returned into competition. The Dutch women dream of reaching the Olympics, a title at this tournament could give their aspiration a boost.

It will be very difficult as only the best 16 pairs are allowed to go to London. Certainly if you know that every continent can send at least one pair. On the other hand Lotte and I are a very compatible pair and we are getting stronger and stronger,” said Van Dooremalen. The top seeds first have to surpass the second seeds Marinello/Overzier. The Germans didn’t seem to have a problem to beat Dutch opponents, proven by a convincing 21-17, 21-14 against the young duo Thamar Peters / Josephine Wentholt.

Can Cann?

There’s only one nation capable of preventing a combined Dutch-German lock on the golds. With Elizabeth Cann in the women’s singles, the English squad hopes to return with one title. Cann had few difficulties so far and outclassed both Karoliine Hoim from Estonia (21-8, 21-11) and Scotswoman Linda Sloan (21-17, 21-10) in the quarters and semis respectively. Nevertheless she still seems up for an impossible mission against the absolute star of the tournament, Juliane Schenk.

All results HERE

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.