Vittinghus the big European draw in Almere (Photo: Mark Phelan)
Vittinghus – A different preparation for Denmark Open
Date: 10/10/2017 9:06 AM
Published by : Mark Phelan
The Yonex Dutch Open is one of the streaming highlights for Badminton Europe as the annual Grand Prix event in Almere tends to draw a high quality field ahead of the Denmark Open the following week. This year is no different with many top stars stopping off in Almere before the trip to Odense. 

The men’s singles is particularly interesting as Japan’s Kento Momota continues his whirlwind trip around Europe soaking up every available world ranking point and Denmark’s Hans Kristian Solberg Vittinghus bids to try something different in his bid for some home success in Denmark the following week. 

“I decided to play Dutch Open this year to try something new in my preparations for Denmark Open. I haven’t exactly performed well in Denmark that last year’s so thought it might be good to try and prepare a bit differently this time and see how it works”

Vittinghus also has world ranking points on his mind this coming week ahead of a tour shake up in 2018

“I also need to consolidate my spot inside the world’s top 30 ahead of the new world tour next year as there will be no qualifying at the two top tiers so of course I am also going to Dutch in search of some much needed world ranking points." 

Vittinghus travels to the Netherlands as third seed and all things considered should be value for the seeding. However, the Dane finds himself in the same side of the draw as Momota with both due to meet as early as the quarter final. 

While the Japanese star has been invincible around Europe these past weeks at International Challenge level there have been some signs of fatigue from the former world number 2. Thomas Rouxel should have taken a set off the Japanese in last week’s final in Brno so a player of Vittinghus’ calibre should be able to exploit any weakness. 

Vittinghus also arrives to Almere a lot fresher than Momota (pictured above) and with a match between both likely to be won by fine margins the large Dutch crowd may just have a say if they can get behind Vittinghus and get one of our great European entertainers across the line.

“I am content with the draw although I would have liked to avoid Momota as early as the quarter final” says Vittinghus “On the other hand I hope to get to that match as it will be a perfect test for me and great fun to play him again.” 

Both Vittinghus and Momota will also have to deal with the significant threat from the defending champion and top seed Wang Tzu Wei.

Caljouw (NED), Gemke (DEN) & Roth (GER) will head up the BEC circuit challenge but all three will need to punch above their weight to beat any of the top three. 

In the women’s singles Beiwen Zhang is attempting a hat trick of Dutch titles and the American based Chinese should stroll to the title just as she did in 2014 and last year. 

Arends and Piek head home challenge

2014 was the last time there was a home victory at the Dutch Open. On that occasion Eefje Muskens and Selena Piek were on their way to the world’s top 10 and second only in Europe behind Juhl and Pedersen. The Dutch pair have since split but Piek returns this year alongside long term mixed partner Jacco Arends (pictured above) and will lead the home challenge in the mixed doubles.

The Dutch are seeded 6 for the tournament but all who know their pedigree know that they will be the most feared European pair in the draw. The Dutch pair were comfortable winning in Belgium in September and the Dutch Open is just another step on their way back to the world’s top 10 after their enforced post Rio break. 

Piek will also be hopeful that her new women’s doubles partnership with Cheryl Seinen will continue to flourish. A win in their very first tournament in Belgium sent out all the right signals and it would be no surprise if the Dutch pair pulled off a home win this week in their very first Dutch Open as a pair. 

Ruben Jille returns to competition in the men’s doubles alongside Jacco Arends after missing September due to injury. This Dutch open might come too early for Jille after the pair burst onto the scene last year in Almere. 

One of the most anticipated matches of round one in the men’s doubles draw is the all GB battle between Briggs/Wolfenden (ENG) and Hall/Dunn (SCO). The English pair came up short in Belgium and Czech in September while the Scots had all tongues wagging after their run to the semi final in Brno last week. 

The Dutch Open represents a step up in class of course but the signs suggest that the Scots are capable and Briggs & Wolfenden will need their top performance to get through the Scottish pair. 

The Dutch Open gets under way on Tuesday with qualification rounds and Badminton Europe will be on hand streaming all the action from all courts via our YouTube channel HERE

To view all the draws for the 2017 Yonex Dutch Open click HERE

To see all historical winners of the annual Grand Prix in Almere click HERE

Article and archive images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe

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