Twelve months ago it was the newly crowned European Junior champion, Anders Antonsen who set he Dutch International alight by winning his maiden senior title just shortly after his European success. This year’s Dutch International witnessed yet another of the class of 2015 coming of age as European junior men’s doubles pair Alexander Bond and Joel Eipe emerged victorious in Wateringen with Bond teaming up with another Euro junior champion Ditte Soby Hansen (main picture) in mixed to capture the double.
Bond got his day off to the perfect start lifting the mixed doubles title in three games over tournament favourites Pugh and Lane of England. Both pairs had come through tough three set semi-finals and the English looked on track to head to the European championships in France next week with a win after taking the opening game. The Danes had led 19-12 in that opening game before nine points in a row from Pugh and Lane clinched the opener.
The Danes could have easily buckled after the comeback from the English in the opener but the memory of that opening game loss was quickly put to bed as Bond and Soby Hansen levelled proceedings with a 23-21 victory in the second.
The destination of the title was finely balanced at 18 all in the deciding rubber but the Danes rattled off three points in a row to lift the title.
Bond then teamed up with European junior winning partner Joel Eipe to lift the men’s doubles title but like the mixed were pushed hard after losing the opening set 21-17 to compatriots Aalestrup and Baskjaer.
A calm pair on court, Bond and Eipe steadied the ship taking the second game before cruising home in the third to lift the title, a second for Alexander Bond.
Unlikely Li lifts women’s singles title
Ahead of the international series rated tournament in Wateringen not many would have touted Germany’s Yvonne Li as a potential winner. The German, ranked 223 in the world, has had limited exposure at senior level over the past year and it was not until her 3 set semi-final win over Mia Blichfeldt that the unlikely looked possible.
In today’s final Li (pictured on podium) beat one of the form players over the past month in the shape of Mette Poulsen of Denmark. Poulsen had been performing well and international challenge level on the circuit and was the hot favourite to win in Wateringen this week.
Poulsen had her opportunities to win today leading in both sets with a comfortable points cushion. Li battled back from 16-11 down in the first to win 21-18 and took the title with a 21-18 win in the second after being 18-14 down. Amazing battling qualitied from Li to lift her first senior title.
Pablo Abian continued on his merry road to Rio winning the Dutch International without dropping a set. In today’s final Abian beat Kieran Merrilees of Scotland and while a predictable win for the Spanish number one it was also a welcomed return to form for Merriless after a potential career threatening hand injury sustained at Christmas.
The sole English win on finals day at the Dutch International came courtesy of Chloe Birch and Sophie Brown. Both Brown and Birch have had their fair share of partners over the past months and today’s victory was just rewards for their patience.
In the most convincing win of the day the English beat home court pair Halkema and Malaihollo with the Dutch fairy-tale coming unstuck in the opening game of the final going down 21-4 to the English. The Dutch did bring the fight to Brown and Birch in the second but the English held firm to win the title 21-15
To view all the results from the 2016 Victor Dutch International click HERE
To watch all the action on Demand from Wateringen click HERE
Article by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe. Photos: Rene Lagerwaard (Live)