Semi-finals day in Almere is always played in full of a packed house of enthusiastic Dutch supporters. This year was no different as the Dutch fans once again came out in force to see top level badminton. This year the Dutch hopes rested with one men’s doubles pair, Jacco Arends and Ruben Jille but it was Dane Mathias Christiansen who end the Dutch dream and stole the show with two semi-final victories.
Christiansen got the ball rolling with a win in the opening mixed doubles match of the day alongside Sara Thygesen. Not a bad weeks work for the new pair in their very first tournament together. The Danes (main picture) were just too strong for Marvin Seidel and Birgit Michels, themselves a new pairing, with Christiansen and Thygesen winning in two games. The Danes will now take part in an all Danish mixed doubles final after Maiken Fruergaard and Soren Gravholt (pictured below) sealed their first GP final spot with a win over Chopra and Reddy of India.
Christiansen then followed up with a win in the men’s doubles semi-final alongside long term partner David Daugaard. The Danes had to battle against Arends and Jille as well as the strong home support but once again the Danes had too much in reserve taking the match in two games.
A first grand prix semi-final in their first tournament together is not a bad return for the new Dutch pair who will be quietly content once the dust settles on the tournament over the coming days.
Stoeva's just keep rolling on
Stefani and Gabriela Stoeva (pictured below) put a small gloss on what was a poor day from a European perspective in Almere. In the very final match of the day the sisters had to dig deep against Malaysian pair Goh and Lim. The sisters took the opening game 21-14 but face a set point against them in the second trailing 20-19.
The Malaysians failed to take their opportunity and the Stoeva’s didn’t needed to be asked twice to round out the match taking three points in succession to advance to the final and be one step away from defending their title.
The Bulgarian’s will play Somerville and Mapasa in tomorrow’s final after the Australian pair cruised past Malaysian pair Anscelly and Teoh in two straight games.
It was a poor day for Europe’s singles contingent with Emil Holst and Bestriz Corrales under performing in their semi-finals. Anders Antonsen put up a determined fight against top seed Ajay Jayaram to only loose out in three games with the Dane be realistically disappointed after the match.
“I had my chances in that match. I still don’t really know what to say about the loss but I feel extremely disappointed with some bad decisions at critical times. My goal this year is to win a Grand Prix so to lose this at semi-final is hard to take right now”
Watch Antonsen's post match interview with Badminton Europe HERE
For all results from today’s semi-final play in Almere click HERE
For a photo gallery from today 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