The phrase ‘saving the best to last’ was very apt this afternoon in Orleans during the finals of the 2016 edition of the Orleans International. In what was a great day all round for European athletes the men’s doubles victory for Richard Eidestedt and Nico Ruponen (main picture) had extra special significance as the Swedes did it coming through qualification on Thursday.
In today’s final the Swedish pair once again had to come back from behind after losing the opening set to Hardianto and Haryianto of Indonesian who were fresh off victory in Poland last week.
Experience and guile were key as Eidestedt steady the ship with some top drawer serving to take the second game 21-12 in a case of anything you can do we can do better.
The third game was epic with never more than one or two points separating both pairs with the full house of fanatical French fans on the edge of their seats. At 19-19 it was Ruponen who stepped up to the plate and deliver the immaculate serves and guidance to get the Swedes over the line for a remarkable maiden title as a pair.
“It is hard to hold in the emotions right now”
said Ruponen after the win. “We had to battle through qualification and I only came back to full time badminton at the end of last year and today’s win makes it look like I made the correct decision”
Back to Back title for Grebak & Christiansen
Winning a tournament once is a hard task to come back a year after and do it all again can go down in a resume as a remarkable achievement. Today Danish mixed pair Lena Grebak and Mathias Christiansen (pictured above) did just that to lift back to back titles beating Samantha Barning and Robin Tabeling in the final.
“We love it here. This is without doubt one of the best prepared and presented tournaments on our European circuit and to have all these fans here supporting just takes our play to the next level” said Grebak after their win.
English pair Heather Olver and Lauren Smith put the disappointment of last year’s final loss firmly behind them to lift the women’s doubles title today beating the last remaining French interest Delphine Delrue and Lea Palermo in the final. France is still without a win in the four years of the tournaments history and another year rolls by with that statistic still intact.
“It is so nice to come back and put the disappointment of last year’s loss to bed” said Smith. “We played well all week and we are extremely happy to beat Lea and Delphine who are real prospects for France moving forward.
Emil Holst won the battle of Denmark in the men’s singles final overcoming compatriot Rasmus Fladberg in two games while World junior champion Jin Wei GOH took her second Badminton Europe circuit title adding the Orleans title to the Belgian International title she won back in September.
“It’s a tough thing to come out and play one of your best friends in a final” said Holst after his win “I have been in god form this week after a few bad weeks recently so to come away with the win is great for my confidence. I have to thank the organisers for a great tournament with a great atmosphere and I look forward to coming back again”
For all results from today’s finals in Orleans click HERE
For a gallery of podium photos click HERE
To revisit all the action on demand on BEtv’s YouTube channel click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan (Live for Badminton Europe)