The main arena in Almere has proven to be a happy hunting ground for Raul Must. The Estonian number 1 had one of the results of his Olympic qualification campaign at the Dutch Open in 2015 making the final and today Must took down former world number 6 Kashyap Parapalli of India in two games to book his quarter final spot.
Must (main picture) had come into the tournament suffering from the post-Olympic blues in terms of form but he has turned that on its head in the first two days in Almere. Even seeded 6 the Estonian was the underdog against the former world top 10 player but once the first game was secured 21-18 the Estonian powered home in two games with another 21-18 win in the second set.
Must will now face off against number 4 seed and one of the Danish Thomas Cup heroes, Emil Holst after the Dane beat the inform Frenchman Lucas Corvee in two games. After his trip to the Asian Super Series loop last month in Japan and Korea, Anders Antonsen has settled back into a European frame of mind and has looked effortless en route to the qurater final.
Swedish number 1 Herni Hurskainen has also impressed after some indifferent early season form. The Swede will have to up his game even more tomorrow with a quarter final match against number 2 seed Tzu Wei Wang.
Danish girls look strong as Corrales bites back
Both Natalia Koch Rohde and Mia Blichfeldt (pictured above) looked the pick of the European women’s singles crop today as both came through tricky second round matches to make the quarter final. Blichfeldt has struggled early season but the seems to have turned the corner this week and today ended the run of Chloe Birch.
The young Dane will now play top seed and 2014 winner Beiwen Zhang for a place in the semi-final, the American based Chinese looking every bit as good as she did two years ago. Koch Rohde beat fellow Dane Julie Finne-Ipsen and the real measure of her form will come tomorrow against number 2 seed Hsu Ya Ching of Chinese Taipei.
There was also a welcome return to form today for fourth seed Beatriz Corrales after the Spaniard looked out of it a set and 12-5 down to former champion Kristina Gavnholt. The steely focus of Corrales eventually wore her opponent down to claim the second set 27-25 and the Spanish number two seized the momentum to run out an easy winner in the deciding set. Corrales will now play Mariya Ulitina for a place in the semi-final with the Ukrainian rounding out the quartet of Europeans to make it to the quarter finals.
In the men’s doubles there was a mini surprise and a welcome one at that
from a Dutch perspective as brand new pairing Jacco Arends and Ruben Jille came through two rounds to book a slightly unexpected quarter final spot. The new Dutch pair took down top seeds Reddy and Attri in the opening set before seeing of young Malaysian pair Chia and Wong and were obviously delighted with their day’s work.
“It may be a surprise to everyone else but if I am honest not to us” said Arends after their victory. “I know how much potential Ruben has so it appears a natural fit for us to play together which we proved today.”
The Dutch will now play Eidestedt and Ruponen of Sweden for a semi-final spot and the hope from a Dutch perspective is that the new pairing can make Saturday at a minimum where a full house will roar the pair on from the stands.
For all results from today’s play in Almere click HERE
For a photo gallery from Day 3 at Yonex Dutch Open click HERE
To re visit all the court action on demand via Youtube click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe