It was another busy day at the 2016 European U17 individual championships with the morning medal quarter final matches followed in the afternoon by the semi-final in all five disciplines.
The form of Spain’s Sara Penalver (main picture) had been good up to this morning’s matches but it was the measure of her win over tournament favourite Michelle Skodstrup that proved the real indication that this might just be a golden week for the young Spaniard.
Penalver took a tight opening set against the Dane saving game point on no fewer than 4 occasions before sealing the game with a 25-23 win with her senior experience counting at the vital point in the game.
In the second game Penalver grab a tight hold on the match immediately after the interval racing into a 15-11 lead and really never looked back from there. The rangy Spaniard went on to take the game 21-17 to get within one match of the final.
Penalver’s semi-final opponent was Bursa Unlu from Turkey, a tricky opponent at the best of times, and after losing the first game it looked like the Spaniards run was about to come to an end. But immense credit must go Penalver’s way as she fought back to take the match in three and advance to the final.
Waiting for the Spaniard will be Line Christophersen after the Dane booked her final spot, completely under the radar and in the shadow of Skodstrup it must be said, after defeating Hungary’s Reke Madarasz in the second semi-final.
Ireland’s Nhat Nguyen continued his remarkable rise to prominence as the Irish national senior champion blitzed his way through the quarters and semi-final and will now go into tomorrow’s final as hot favourite against Johnnie Torjussen after the Englishman received a walkover from Christopher Grimley. The Scot picked up an injury earlier in the day and hobbled to a bronze medal but was unable to take any further part in the competition.
Boje looking untouchable in both mixed and doubles
When the dust settles on this championships, and no matter what the outcome in tomorrow’s final, Denmark’s Alexandra Boje will be remember as one of the players and personalities of the tournament. The Dane led from the front again in both her mixed and women’s doubles semi-finals and as a double finalist will be hot favourite to do the double tomorrow.
Boje and Krogh were pushed hard by French pair Lambert and Heriau in the women’s doubles semi-final become coming through in two while the mixed proved a walk in the park for Boje and her partner Paw Eriksen (pictured above) easing by Stallwood and Liew on England in two games.
“We knew we had to remain very focused against the English today as they have had a fantastic tournament so far” said Boje after the mixed win “These two days have been extremely demanding physically and mentally and we managed to cope with that better today. Now we rest well and concentrate on one more match and give it everything one more time”
The Danes will line up against Russian outsiders Medvedeva and Lavrikov after the Russians took down top seeds from France in the quarter final before ending the tournament of Ukrainian pair Ilyinskaya and Bosniuk in the semi-final.
Elsewhere in what was a frustrating day for the French in Lubin, men’s doubles pair Gicquel and Rossi put a gloss on the end of the day and booked the only French final spot beating Lundgaard and Petersen in the final match on the evenings play.
The French will now play top Danish pair Eriksen and Thogersen in tomorrow’s final to be crowed European champions in a match that the French will be favourites.
For all results from today’s semi-finals in Lubin click HERE
For a photo gallery from the earlier quarter finals click HERE
To revisit all the on court action on demand via YouTube click HERE
Article and images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe