(Photo: Badminton Europe/ Koen Mutton)
France with big win and Russia power through
Date: 2/16/2021 6:31 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
We are up and running at the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships in Vantaa, Finland. First matches were on court for the opening session.
France vs Netherlands
In a clash that on paper was very hard to call, we had to wait until the last moment to find a winner. 

A pivotal match in the tie actually came in the opener, where we saw the repeat of the marathon SaarLorLux Open final between Mark Caljouw and Toma Junior Popov. This time, Mark Caljouw got off to a strong start in the opening game and fended off a late charge from Popov. 

Popov used this momentum to fly away with the second game, winning 21-6. Then came the gruelling deciding game. Long physical rallies were something Caljouw embraced, squeezing out the win 21-16. 

-That is one of my strongest points, just to keep it going, play physical and I think I was better in those areas in the end. 

While the men’s singles broke the hour-mark, Qi Xuefei swiftly levelled the scoreline against the young Jaymie Laurens, 21-14, 21-7 in 26 minutes. 

Building on this, Ronan Labar/ Julien Maio recorded a two-game men’s doubles revenge over the Netherlands. Labar spoke about how it was satisfying considering recent losses in the category at the 2020 European Men’s Team Championships and also the 2019 European Mixed Team Championships two years ago. 

-Last time we lost, and I lost the men’s doubles, so we hoped to get our revenge today. It is always a great pleasure to win a point for the national team. 

In the women’s doubles, Debora Jille/ Cheryl Seinen were able to level the tie once more, with a win against Emilie Lefel/ Anne Tran, despite a few missed opportunities from France in the second game. This backed up their win in the quarterfinal of the SaarLorLux Open. 

The mixed doubles would settle it. Thom Gicquel/ Delphine Delrue, despite their headline-grabbing results in Thailand, faced Robin Tabeling/ Selena Piek, who scored a tight win over them in this very event two years ago. 

Watch the great final point and their post-match reaction here.

England vs Russia
A young England team faced a tough task against a battle-hardened Russia, who were also energized by being back on court. 

-I still feel it is not the best I can play, but match by match I will play better. But basically we are happy to play again and we will try to do our best, said Malkov after his opening victory. 

Rory Easton/ Ethan Van Leeuwen faced former European champions, Vladimir Ivanov/ Ivan Sozonov, for the second time. They both took a lot from the experience. 

-We tried to get rid of their weapons as much as possible but it is sometimes hard. You get into shot choices which you do not really want to play. 

Annie Lado/ Jenny Moore took the only game of the match against Anastasiia Akchurina/ Olga Morozova. The match ended 5-0 to Russia. 

To watch all of the live-action from the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships, 16-20 February, visit

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