Less than a week ago both Thomas Rouxel and Delphine Lansac were climbing the top step of the podium in Warsaw in what was a golden day for French singles play. Fast forward a couple of days and both came unstuck in the very first round on home soil in Orleans.
Rouxel looked as if his form completely deserted him going down to Peter Koukal of Czech Republic in an easy two games 21-12 21-12 while Lansac will feel slightly better in defeat only losing out in a very tight two set battle against old foe from junior days Neslihan Yigit of Turkey.
The French did have some success in the men’s singles thanks to the old guard of both Lucas Corvee and French number 1 Brice Leverdez. Corvee booked his quarter final spot with a hard earned three set win over Yuhan Tan. The Belgian number 1 squandered two match points in the deciding set as Corvee won four points in a row from 20-18 down to win the match.
Leverdez (pictured with some French fans before his second round match) was much more clinical in his journey to the quarter final. The French number 1 had a pair of easy opening matches to ease into the tournament and will now play Malaysian Arif in tomorrow’s quarter final.
Pedro Martins looked the most composed of all Europeans with the commencement of the main draw. The Portuguese Olympian looked effortless in his 21-5 21-5 demolition of Marius Myhre and Martins will be full of confidence as we head into the business end of the tournament.
Poulsen finds form to assist Schnaase & Konon
As expected both Olga Konon and Karin Schnaase made it to the quarter final in a women’s singles draw that is top heavy with Asian talent. The big surprise of the day was the performance of Denmark’s Mette Poulsen (pictured) in support of the two German’s.
Poulsen beat fifth seed Sabrina Jaquet in the opening round before fending off the stiff challenge of Ozge Bayrak in round two. Poulsen will now play Schnaase in the quarter final to guarantee at least one European in the semi-final as the Asian contingent, led by world junior champion and Belgian International winner, Jin Wei GOH lurk in the long grass.
Konon will play the Malaysian pocket rocket in tomorrow’s quarter final in a repeat of their match last week where the German became the first European to beat the world junior champion this European season.
Towler & Nottingham in hunt for title defence
Matthew Nottingham and Harley Towler (pictured above) continued their rehabilitation as a serious European partnership this afternoon in Orleans. In has been a rough year since lifting the title 12 months ago in Orleans and the English pair fed off those memories today in a pair of wins against quality opposition. After beating Polish pair Szkudlarczyk and Pietryja in the opening round the English pair took down a major scalp in the shape of Daugaard and Christiansen of Denmark in round two. A quarter final against Malaysia’s Tan & Tan awaits which will give a more than real indication of their title defence credentials.
Like Towler and Nottingham, Mathias Christiansen and Lena Grebak are still in the hunt for back to back Orleans title. The Danes beat French qualifiers Tran and Corvee to find their feet in the tournament and will now face the last remaining French pair in the tournament Kersaudy and Palermo.
English youngsters Ben Lane and Jessica Pugh continue to impress and after being granted a wild card to the European Champions next month, also on French soil, the English were playing down their chances in Orleans this week.
“We come here with no real expectations as stepping it up to senior level and International Challenge is just a learning process for us this week” said Pugh to Badminton Europe.
Unlike the rest of the tournament draws its mixed doubles where Europe still have a sizeable presence at quarter final stages with six of the eight pairs of European origin. The English will fancy their chances against Barning and Tabeling tomorrow and should they win that who knows what they might achieve with momentum behind them.
In one of the final matches on court this evening European championships women's doubles wild card pair Delphine Delrue and Lea Palermo beat fancied Dutch duo Barning & Tabeling to make the quarter final for France.
For all results from today’s play in Orleans click HERE
For a full photo gallery from day 2 click HERE
To watch all the action on demand from court 2 click HERE
Article and images by Mark Phelan (Live for Badminton Europe)