The Irish Magee siblings have had a self-induced quiet start to the season with training being the priority since the World championships in Jakarta back in August. Chloe Magee’s (pictured) world ranking in singles has hovered in and around 40 for the past year as vital ranking points in mixed doubles have become priority in the rush to Rio.
Magee has always managed to mix her dual discipline life and in Almere this afternoon her real singles fighting spirit came to the fore in an energy sapping 79 minute marathon against India’s P.C. Thulasi.
Magee had already beaten Denmark’s Orleans International winner in the opening round Natalia Koch Rhode and the stars appear to be aligned for the Irish number one this week after the withdrawal of top seed Beiwen Zhang which Magee was drawn to meet at the very top of the draw.
In today’s second round game, and isolated in the Almere arena’s very end court, Magee drew on all her physical and mental reserves to beat the Indian Thulasi in three games
Magee won the opening game and even had one match point in the second before the Indian leveled taking the second game 23-21.
In the deciding set both women had to really dig deep as the physicality of the match started to take its toll. At 17-14 the Irish woman appeared to have things under control but the Indian managed to frustrate Magee returning attack after attack to take 5 points in a row to lead 19-17.
The hard physical preparation that has been instilled in the Irish players by coach Irwansyah back in Dublin paid dividend at the very end of the 79 minute battle as Magee’s physical superiority came to the fore as she rattled off the remaining 4 points to advance to the quarter final.
Chloe Magee will now play Line Kjaersfeldt in tomorrow’s quarter final after the Dane beat Rong Schafer in an easy two games.
There was also a welcomed return to form for Germany’s Karin Schnasse who has looked out of sorts this new season on the trail of world ranking Rio points. Schnasse was a disappointing loser to today’s opponent Soraya DeVisch Eijbergen two weeks ago in Prague but the German turned things around this week and looks a real threat for a podium in Almere.
“I have been playing so bad and the match in Prague was really the last straw. This season is my last so now I will enjoy my badminton again and put no pressure on myself to win matches and win points towards the Olympics” said Schnasse. “I think I have just been to stressed over the past few months and now it is time just to relax and take what comes and I think this week in Almere we are starting to see the reward for doing just that”
Holst finding some well needed form
Emil Holst came to The Netherlands this week on the back of a terrible run of form. Not since the European Games in Baku has the Dane troubled the podium but that seems to have changed this week at the Dutch Open.
Holst has not dropped a set en route to the quarter finals. Two decent Indonesians and Germany’s Dieter Domke have fallen to the Danes sword and with only three Europeans left in the men’s singles draw Holst will carry the majority of the burden of expectation on behalf of Europe.
As good as Holst has been Raul Must has been equally impressive. The Estonian had a decent run to the semi-final in Prague and is in a rich vein of form after winning in Bulgaria the week previous. Like Holst, Must has not dropped a set and looks to be taking the road to Rio in his stride as others buckle under the pressure.
Poles continue to dominate on road to Rio.
Robert Mateusiak and Nadia Zieba have continued from where they left off in Belgium a few weeks ago as they continue to grow in their rebirth as a partnership. The Poles have lost just one match since coming back together at the start of the summer and today’s victory over Issara & Amitrapai has reaffirmed their reputation as a world class pair.
Lacking a decent night’s sleep Mateusiak and Zieba were still in a position to find a game to defeat the Thailand pair and in doing so set up another cracking match in tomorrow’s quarter final against top seeds Fuchs & Michels of Germany.
“It was not our best game today. Only a few hours’ sleep in the hotel and really we were not at our best today” said Mateusiak.
“The good thing about these Grand Prix events is that there is only one match per day which suits our old bodies so we will have time to recover and build again towards tomorrow” said Zieba jokingly.
For all the results from today’s action in Almere click HERE
For a photo gallery from todays play click HERE
Article and Image by Mark Phelan (Live in Almere for Badminton Europe)