England’s Matthew Nottingham and Emily Westwood (pictured) claimed their first title as a pair this afternoon at the Welsh International beating top seeds and world number 23 pair Labar & Lefel of France.
The Welsh International has proved to be a happy hunting ground for Nottingham after winning the men’s doubles alongside Harley Towler in 2014 and Chris Coles in 2013. Today the Englishman kept his Welsh record going but made hard work of the final alongside Westwood after taking the opening game in dominant fashion 21-13.
The English pair stormed out of the blocks in game two and with 7 match point at 20-13 looked to be coasting to the title. The French however made an amazing comeback at the Dutch Open only a few short weeks ago and set about clawing the English back winning point after point.
Labar and Lefel where runners up in Scotland last week and when they tied it up at 20-20 the writing looked to be on the wall for the English. Nottingham & Westwood somehow managed to stop the onslaught from the French and had another two match points before the French levelled and took a game point of their own at 23-22.
Again the English rallied and with 3 point without reply Nottingham and Westwood lifted the title in two games display remarkable resolve as it looked to be drifting away.
The Stoeva Sisters did what everyone expected them to do this week in Cardiff and claim the women’s doubles title with relative ease. The Bulgarian’s dropped just one set all week and in today’s final prevented defending champions Olver and Smith of England from going back to back. The Stoeva’s took the first game easily 21-10 before a spirited second game saw the English apply real pressure in a game they feel they should have taken the distance.
Olver and Smith had got themselves into a game winning position at 20-18 but the Stoeva’s rattled off four points in a row to steal the game and with it the Welsh International title.
In the men’s doubles Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge, both previous winners of the Welsh International, extended the winless streak of Cwalina and Wacha to six tournaments, as the English beat the Poles 21-16 in the deciding set.
Madsen ends winless streak to confirm good Scottish form.
Last week at the Scottish Open GP Anna Thea Madsen showed glimpses of the form that saw her win the European silver medal in 2016. This week the Dane brought that form to Cardiff beating top seed Beatriz Corrales and twice circuit winner Olga Konon en route to her first title in 2015.
The diminutive Dane stumbled across the line in the first game after leading 20-16 against Germany’s Karin Schnasse. A 24-22 win did a lot to re-focus Madsen’s mind as she went on to take the match and title 21-11 in the second winning 10 points in a row after being level at 11-11.
In the men’s singles final Russia’s Vladimir Malkov bagged his second International Challenge win of the year with this Welsh success coming off the back of a run 8 indifferent tournament performances.
Malkov Beat Poland’s Adrian Dziolko in the final dominating the match after the initial mid game interval in the opening game.
For all results from the Welsh International click HERE
Article & Archive Photo by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe, podium photo Huw John.