Mattias Borg (main picture) became the darling of Swedish badminton this afternoon in Uppsala. The Swede defied all the odds to make it from qualification to the final after a win over Lucas Claerbout of France and in doing so edges within one step of modern Swedish badminton history.
Henri Hurskainen came within a whisker of winning his home title in 2014 but today the Swedish number 1 fell in the semi-final to Anders Antonsen of Denmark. Borg on the other hand got the vocal home supporters on his side from the start and in the longest of two set games which stretched over an hour came through 21-15 21-18 against the inform Frenchman.
With seven matches already under his belt in the tournament Borg will have to overcome the associated fatigue and bring his absolute ‘A’ game to the final if he is to trouble Antonsen in tomorrow’s final. Something that will work in the Swede’s favour is that the young Dane has also battled through qualification but unlike Borg, Antonsen has done it before and will be the favourite tomorrow.
“Henri was clearly struggling after his long quarter final earlier” said Antonsen after his semi-final victory over the Swedish number 1 “Mattias will be a big challenge tomorrow as he is playing extremely well plus he enjoys the atmosphere of the big crowd who will be without doubt on his side. But I look forward to that challenge and let’s see what it brings”
“This hall is pretty slow so it suits my game” said Borg to Badminton Europe in his post-match interview. “I have been working hard recently and it is starting to show now in my performances. I know the crowd can lift me and help me and I think I can play a game that will get them on my side from the start”
German girls dominate women’s singles semi-final
Top seed Karin Schnaase (pictured below in semi final action) could not have asked for a better start to 2016. As the seeds fell in the top half of the draw so too did the effective challenge to the German en route to the final. After getting through a potential banana skin round 1 tie against Mette Poulsen the German has cruised into the final never spending more than 23 minutes on court. Today’s semi-final victim was Finland’s Nanna Vainio who had an excellent tournament in its own right.
Schnaase’s opponent will be fellow German Olga Konon who overturned a four match losing streak to Dane Line Kjaersfeldt to book yet another final for the Saarbruken based athlete. Konon never looked in trouble today against a spluttering Kjaersfeldt which sets up a final of intrigue which will surely have a host of bragging rights associated for the winner.
Defending men’s doubles champions Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen looked every bit of their year spent on the Super Series circuit. The Danes have looked in outstanding form coming back to circuit level and took care of Antonsen and Nohr in this afternoon’s semi-final.
The top seeds will play fellow Danes Mathias Christiansen and David Daugaard who this week have shown the kind of form that took them to the 2014 Scottish Open GP title and will be a real handful for Astrup and Skaarup Rasmussen tomorrow.
Iris Tabeling has had a welcome return to fitness after sustaining an injury in Scotland back in November. Tabeling and partner Samantha Barning were forced to retire in that GP final after Tabeling injured her ankle and tomorrow the Dutch pair will look to redress that memory and take the title. They will most likely be underdogs against Fruergaard and Thygesen as the fourth seeded Danes are certainly a pair better than their fourth seeding suggests. The Dutch beat Russians Chervyakova and Morozova, the winners from last week in Estonia in today’s semi-final while the Danes took down 2015 runners up Sophie Brown and Kate Robertshaw in two easy games.
Robert Mateusiak and Nadia Zieba continue their march to yet another title and are now virtually a shoe in for the Olympics in the summer. The Poles were comfortable against Gravholt and Fruergaard in the first of the semi-finals but will need to be on their toes tomorrow as opposing them are the pair that beat them in Ireland before Christmas Mathias Christiansen and Lena Grebak. Christiansen of course will be going for the double in mixed and men’s tomorrow.
All the action will be live on Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel tomorrow from 10am (local time) Just click HERE
For all the results from today’s semi-finals click HERE
For a Facebook gallery from today’s quarter and semi-finals click HERE
Article and images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe