Prior to this week’s Austrian Open in Vienna both Chris Langridge and Marcus Ellis (pictured) spoke about the need to have one or two more good performances under their belt to make sure of their seats on the plane to Rio in the summer.
Both players have been loyal servants to English badminton for the past decade and today in Vienna the English number 1 pair put one foot on the plane to Rio with a convincing win in the men’s doubles final over Mitsuhashi and Watanabe of Japan.
Ellis and Langridge impressed last week in Kazan at the European men’s and women’s team championships and travelled to Vienna this week as top seeds and favourites. After easing into the tournament with two easy opening round wins their three set win over Coles and Hall in the quarter final set the tone for their assault on the title.
A victory over a second Japanese pair in the semi-final gave the English men the boost they needed to do the doubles over Japan on the final day of competition and the English duly delivered in two games 21-14 21-16
Russian pair Bolotova and Kosetskaya continued their rise up the world rankings after some time out of the game in 2015 with yet another convincing performance at international challenge level. The Russians led the line for team Russia in Kazan last week and unseeded beat a Chinese pair in the opening round before ending the tournament of third seeds Olver and Smith of England as early as the second round.
Their semi-final win over top seeded Germans Goliszewski and Nelte installed the Russians as favourites for the final and they duly delivered with a victory over second seeded Americans Obanana and Lee to lift their first title of 2016.
After a 12 months disrupted by a series of niggling injuries Mathias Christiansen and Lena Grebak proved their circuit credentials lifting the mixed doubles title to add to the Irish Open title they won at the end of December.
The Danish pair lifted the title the hard way beating a Chinese pair early in the competition before seeing off the challenge of top seeds Durkin and Vislova in three games in the semi-final. A two set win over Nottingham and Westwood of England was just rewards for a tough weeks work as the Danes proved once again the immense strength in depth in Danish mixed doubles.
Antonsen just keeps on winning
Anders Antonsen (pictured above) proved once again that he is the king of the Badminton Europe circuit this season winning his fourth International challenge title since September. The European junior champion today added the Austrian Open to the Belgian, Irish and Swedish titles bagged in the last six months in what has been a remarkable hat trick since Dublin in December.
Antonsen was obviously delighted posting on his social media pages immediately after his victory today.
“Yes yes yes! Won the final in straight games 21-9 21-17! Felt really good on court and made it hard for Kanta to score points on me! Amazing to have won my 4th senior title on Challenge level this season! Hopefully I have some more victories to come!!”
There was disappointment for Germany’s Olga Konon losing her second final in successive months but the German will wake up tomorrow knowing that she continues to narrow the gap on Karin Schnaase in the race to Rio. Scant consolation for the German champion but it is sure to make next week’s German Open and the following All England and European Championships an interesting spectacle for those watching the many battle for Olympic qualification in women’s singles.
For all results from today’s finals in Vienna click HERE
Article and Image by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe