The 2016 European U17 team event got under way this morning in Lubin, Poland and as expected there were no real surprises as all the title favourites bagged their first win. Top seeds Denmark did manage to give everyone an early fright losing their opening men’s singles before coming home easily 4-1 against Italy while Turkey (main picture) looked strong in their opening group match against Finland.
The huge Turkish team had a real fight on their hands early on against the 6 strong Finnish team with the first three matches of the tie going to three games. European U15 girl’s doubles champion Bengisu Ercetin was the pivotal player for the Turks and after coming through those early 3 setters took the match 5-0 to top the group.
In the three team group 3 battle between England and Spain only Sara Penalver managed to secure a win for the Spanish. Spain will now need Bulgaria to do them a favour against England if this Spanish U17 team is to replicate the historic team win of the U19’s in this very hall last year while England look to have a well-balanced team that can certainly do some damage at the medal end of the tournament.
Hosts Poland were first on this morning and were ruthless in their demolition of Cyprus 5-0. The Poles will have tougher matches to come and with Germany also 5-0 winners from the same group the winners will likely come from a winner take all match on Saturday.
In group 6 Sweden top the group after the opening round of matches by virtue of their 5-0 win over Iceland. The Netherlands had an equally impressive 4-1 win over Switzerland. While most teams would have used more than one player in doubles and singles the Swedes emptied the bench for their opening match with not a singles player been forced to do double duties. With a long 10 days ahead this strategy might well serves the Swedes well as fatigue sets in during week two.
Maryna Ilyinskaya, one of the undoubted stars of the day’s play, was in blistering form in both singles and mixed doubles for team Ukraine (pictured above) in their match against Norway. Ilyinskaya will need to secure every point she can for her team if they are to advance as with Russia waiting in a possible group decider the Ukrainian starlet will need to lead from the front.
In what was the individual match of the day Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen (pictured above) beat recent Dutch Junior runner up Arnaud Merkle of France in a high quality three set match. Merkle took the opening game powering his way past the Irish national champion before Nguyen came back to win in three.
The French went on to take the match 4-1 against the Irish but it will be no coincidence or fluke if both Merkle and Nguyen end up at the business end of the individual tournament next week.
Elsewhere Czech Republic had a busy day playing in both the morning and evening sessions. Michaela Fuchsova proved the star of the show for the Czech juniors playing four and winning all four matches in both ties against Norway and Hungary.
To revisit all the action on demand from court 2 in Lubin go to Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel HERE
For all results from day 1 at #EU17C click HERE
For a full photo gallery from today’s play in Lubin click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe LIVE in Lubin