England’s Chloe Birch impressed in the opening singles rounds today in Almere with an impressive three game win over Ying Ying Lee of Malaysia. The versatile English shuttler has mixed doubles with singles this past month and continues her personal run of good form after lifting the women’s doubles title in Belgium mid-September alongside Lauren Smith.
Birch (main picture) exchanged the opening games 22-20 with her Malaysian opponent in the first round of the women’s singles before pulling clear in the deciding set to advance to the second round thanks to a 21-11 win.
Birch, the solitary English women’s singles representative this week at the Dutch Open, will now play Danish young gun Mia Blichfeldt in round two. The Dane showed a marked step up in form compared to previous outings in Belgium and Prague to defeat eight seed Natalia Perminova in two easy games.
In the tightest all European women’s singles round one match up, Spain’s fourth seed Beatriz Corrales was forced to dig deep against Germany’s Fabienne Deprez eventually coming through in three games.
European form player Natalia Koch Rhode proved the form that took her to the Prague Open title two weeks ago is still with her as she demolished Flore Vandenhoucke of Belgium in two games. The Belgian only managing 4 points in the second game as the Dane stamped her mark on the tournament and put herself forward the European to challenge the foreign opposition in Almere this week.
New mixed pairings continue to appear post Rio
With Rio now but a distant foggy memory the post Olympic reshuffle continues with many countries continuing to experiment with new pairings and this week in Almere is no different. In the mixed doubles Mathias Christiansen took to the court alongside Sara Thygesen and the Danes (pictured above) came through untroubled against young Dutch duo Robin Tabeling and Cheryl Seinen.
Germany also introduced us to the new combination of Birgit Michels and Marvin Seidel. The German duo may not be a permanent pairing moving forward but they certainly showed promising signs in their three game win against Lee & Hsu of Taipei.
Dutch pair Jelle Maas and Imke Van Der Aar continued their good run of form again benefitting from a promotion to the main draw. The Dutch, themselves a relatively new pair, have impressed on the circuit this early season and today dispelled the threat of Malaysian opposition to book their second round spot.
Elsewhere it was the end of Dutch involvement in the men’s singles as both Erik Meijs and Mark Caljouw went down on adjoining courts at the same time. Estonian number one and finalist from last year Raul Must put disappointing early season form behind him to win both his day one matches to advance to round 3 while English number two Toby Penty had an easy day with his opponent retiring after just one point in round one before putting Erik Meijs to the sword.
For all results from day 2 at the Yonex Dutch Open click HERE
For a full photo gallery from today’s play click HERE
To revisit all the action on demand via Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan (Live in Almere for Badminton Europe)