ITALIAN INT’L Finals – Winners just keep on Winning

Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier (pictured) made it three wins from three this afternoon in the finals of the Italian International in Rome and Germany’s Olga Konon added the Italian […]

Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier (pictured) made it three wins from three this afternoon in the finals of the Italian International in Rome and Germany’s Olga Konon added the Italian International title to the Norwegian crown she lifted in Oslo last month without dropping a single set along the way.

By Mark Phelan.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (archives)

Sometimes in life, a change is as good as a rest and change has proven to be the catalyst for success for Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier in the past 2 months. This morning in Rome, the new GB pair snatched the Italian International title which will sit nicely in the trophy cabinet alongside the Scottish International and the Irish International they won last week in Dublin.

Truth be told, this Italian International has proven to be somewhat of a walk in the park for the GB newbies as they have proven, in their short time together as a pair, that they are ready for so much more than strolling the highways and byways of the Badminton Europe circuit.

After suffering an initial Irish hangover in the opening round, where they were taken to three sets, Bankier and Adcock swept to the Italian title with a 2-game victory over Kunka and Hogstrom.

“After a bad injury, in which I nearly quit the game, I have come back more focused and in Chris I have a really supportive partner. He allows me to be me on court and I respect him so much for that as it allows me have fun which helps me play better. I have also changed some things in training, which are a result of my injury. My sessions are a lot more focused on quality now which is paying off” said Bankier exclusively to Badzine

In an equally amazing feat, Olga Konon (pictured) took her second consecutive women’s singles title on her road towards the world’s elite. The German did not drop a game in Norway to take the title in Oslo and today she repeated that exact same feat as she beat Carolina Marin of Spain in two games.

The German looked to have lost the opening set as she trailed 20-17, but remarkably took the next five points to take the set. Konon is known for her fighting spirit and has the game to wear many opponents down slowly and she certainly showed this at the end of that opening set.

Marin appeared broken after the disappointment of the opening set and the German cruised to take the second set 21-14 and with it a giant step towards the upper echelons of the world rankings.

“I have been practising hard and working hard on every aspect of my game with the German guys in Saarbrucken. I feel comfortable and relaxed now when I play and I know what I can do and what I cannot do on court. The end of the first set was crucial as I knew that if I fought hard I could bring it back and that’s what I did and I think that played on Carolina’s mind early in the second and I was able to get a good lead and hold on then for the victory,” said Konon exclusively to Badzine.

In the men’s singles, Pablo Abian suffered a second final defeat in the space of 5 days as he went down in 2 sets to a resurgent Wacha from Poland. The Pole has found a new lease on life in the past 4 months and that, coupled with the birth of his daughter, has without doubt turned his season around and there will be plenty of smiles in the Wacha household this Christmas.

The women’s doubles saw Dutch pair of Piek and Tabeling overcome the unexpected challenge of Kurdelska and Pocztowiak after the Poles had eliminated the winners from Dublin Olver and Agathangelou in the earlier rounds.  The Dutch duo proved too strong for the Poles as the final was maybe just one step too far on this occasion but rest assured they will learn from this and no doubt there is a bright future ahead for both pairings.

In the final match of the day, Chris Langridge and Anthony Clark (pictured) put the disappointment of their Irish final defeat behind them to take the Italian title with a victory over Russian pair Ivanov and Sozonov. The English duo, who got revenge over compatriots Adcock and Ellis in the semi-final after their Irish defeat, were relentless in today’s final and brushed the challenge of the Russians aside in 2 games.

For all results, click HERE

About Mark Phelan