Mateusiak & Zieba rolling back the years.

9/11/2015 11:42 PM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Mark Phelan
 
It was a perfect day from a Polish perspective on semi-finals day at the 2015 Belgian International in Leuven. Not Only did Cwalina & Wacha regain some of the form that has made them the men’s doubles pair to beat over the past two seasons but the arrival back on the circuit of Robert Mateusiak & Nadia Zieba has struck fear in to most mixed doubles pairs around. 

Mateusiak, who turns 40 next January, and partner Zieba have returned after an 18 month hiatus to blitz the circuit with 3 finals in a row. The Poles made it four finals from four today beating the improving Danish pair Nohr & Thygesen in three games.

The veteran Polish pair lost the opening game against the Danes but powered home 21-13 21-14 in the final two games to make yet another final on their return to the circuit. 

“It was the longest 18 months of my life when Nadia was out of the games so I am pleased she is back” said Mateusiak. “The focus for us is to try and qualify for the Rio Olympics games but we know we are starting late so it will be a tough challenge”

Cwalina and Wacha were equally as impressive against defending champions Daugaard & Christiansen coming through in two games 21-13 21-17

“We played well today which we have not done much of lately” said Cwalina “Today we felt like we were almost back to our best and hopefully can bring that game to the final tomorrow also”

Gilmour takes down European Games Champion

Kirsty Gilmour has shown a real return to form this week in Belgium which was highlighted today in her semi-final win over Line Kjaersfeldt of Denmark. The Scot has had a good recent record against the Dane and today yet again Kjaesfeldt had not answers to the guile of the Gilmour game. 

Gilmour took the opening set 210-12 and ran out an easy winner over Kjaersfeldt winning the second 21-17. 

“I didn’t expect to beat Line as easy today. I am happy that they things I am working on in training are starting to show on court as we head into the critical point of Olympic qualification” commented Gilmour after her semi-final win. 

The Scot will play 15 year old Malaysian wonder kid Jin Wei Goh in tomorrow’s final after the diminutive Malaysian blew away the challenge of Rong Schafer of the USA just as she has done with all her opponents this week in Belgium. 

“It will be very interesting to play Goh tomorrow as it is always good to play someone new and it will be a bit weird being the old one on court as I have become used to it being the other way around” said Gilmour.
 
Antonsen continues to blaze a trail in Leuven

Coming into the tournament this week many fancied the European Junior Champion, Anders Antonsen of Denmark, to make some kind of statement this week. A quarter final from qualification would have been a worthy return for the youngster but no one would have expected him make the final, no one except the player himself that his.

The Aarhus man was made fight tooth and nail today against the ever improving Lucas Corvee of France who incidentally had another Great Dane in his corner calling the shots, the great Peter Gade. 

A two game win saw Antonsen fall to his knees to celebrate and there will be an all Danish men’s singles final as Christian Lind Thomsen battled through to the final exactly 5 years after his last final in Belgium in 2010. 

Sara Thygesen made up for the disappointment of losing the mixed doubles semi-final by partnering Maiken Fruergaard to a semi-final women’s doubles win over top seeds Goliszewski and Nelte of Germany 

And in what was a black day for team Germany Michels and Herttrich also went down to Malaysian duo Choong & Yap in two games. 

For all results from today’s play in Leuven click HERE

For a full Facebook gallery from the quarter and semi-finals at the Belgium International click HERE

Article and Image by Mark Phelan (Live in Leuven) 



 
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