With the dust barely settling after the European men’s and women’s team championships in Kazan many of the players involved for their countries in Russia will make the trip this week to Vienna as the Race to Rio enters its final phase.
The efforts in the search for team glory in Kazan are sure to have taken their toll on many players and with that in mind there may well be an opportunity for those who missed the trip to Russia to really put their best foot forward in Vienna with the advantage of some hard week’s work and little travelling behind them.
Durkin and Vislova (main picture) head up the European mixed doubles challenge as top seeds and with no exposure in Kazan will go into the Austrian International as clear favourites. England will also look to the fresh pairs of Nottingham and Westwood and Pugh and Lane to make their mark after a week training at home.
German pair Johanna Goliszewski and Carla Nelte are the top pair in the women’s doubles but both were used extensively in Kazan for team Russia with Goliszewski picking up a back injury as part of her exploits for Germany. Only time will tell if the German’s can push through the pain barrier and make headlines in Vienna.
England’s Olver and Smith will sure to have benefited from an early exit in Russia and with a few extra days to recover are sure to come out fighting again this week. Elsewhere the top Turkish pair Yigit and Bayrak were like walking wounded after their singles and doubles exposure last week and while seeded four it will be a big surprise if the Turks even make it to Vienna and if they do it will be almost a miracle if they prove effective.
England lead the line in the men’s doubles also with Marcus Ellis and Chris Langridge. The English duo seemed to revel in their role as top English pair in Kazan and looked as fresh at the end of their bronze medal run as they did at the beginning of the week. The English will be sure to figure this week in Vienna.
A fresh singles player likely to come out on top
As with the doubles event it is not rocket science to assume that players with a decent training block behind them and with little travel miles under their belt might just prevail in Austria. Rasmus Fladberg is one of these players who did not travel to Kazan last week and won the Danish national championships just a few weeks ago.
Pablo Abian of Spain is top seed and is due to meet Fladberg in round two. This match will serve to tell the condition of both men and the likely protagonists from the top half of the draw. Andes Antonsen was sparkly used in Kazan for team Denmark so fresh legs and his obvious skills will also be a major threat this week.
Recently crowed Finnish national champion Kalle Koljonen will also be a name to watch especially with the young Finn showing great progression recently and let’s remember that last week in Kazan almost knocked Hans Kristian Vittinghus for six in the group stages but squandered a match point against the experienced Dane.
David Obernosterer (pictured) will be the pick of the home players. The Austrian is another player that has improved hand over fist in the last twelve months and played a leading role in Austria’s impressive performances in Kazan. Obernosterer beat Russian number 1 Malkov in the group stages in Kazan which is sure to serve as a great boost for the player personally and Austrian badminton.
The women’s singles has been hit with a number of withdrawals as many players elect to rest after Russia. However, those who travel to Vienna from Kazan will need to look over their shoulders at those who did not.
Karin Schnaase is top seed and was probably one of the outstanding players in Kazan last week. Schnaase will benefit from an extra day at home after leaving the day before the medal ceremony in Kazan with the race to Rio being her number 1 priority.
Nedelcheva, Vainio, Corrales, Ulitina, Lansac and Tolmoff will all have to shake off the after effects of huge commitments both on the court and in the air if they are to be effective in Vienna. Lurking in the long grass as fresh as they come is Olga Konon who has had a number of weeks training behind her with her last appearance almost a month ago in Sweden.
All the action kicks off in Vienna tomorrow Thursday with qualification and the Austrian International themselves have a live stream via their own YouTube channel which can be watched HERE
For all the draws from the Austrian International click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe