In what was a pretty barren day in terms of European success for Europe at the Dutch Open there was some success and something to get excited about as Mathias Christiansen and Sara Thygesen lifted the mixed doubles title in their first outing as a pair.
European players were always going to be up against it this week in Almere with a high quality Asian field present across all five disciplines. Mixed doubles was always key for a home continental victory and was guaranteed after the semi-finals thanks to both Danish pairs making the final.
In the very first match on court Sara Thygesen and Mathais Christiansen took on compatriots Maiken Fruergaard and Soren Gravholt and the Danish fifth seeds looked to have the title wrapped up with the first set in the bag and lead 20-16 in the second.
Fruergaard and Gravholt never gave up and rattled off six points in a row to take the match into a deciding set but that was as good as it was about to get for the underdog Danish pair. Christiansen and Thygesen came out in the third game and won six points without reply and in reality there was never going to be a way back for Fruergaard and Gravholt at that point.
Thygesen and Christiansen took the title with a 21-16 win in that decider a pretty remarkable achievement given the Dutch Open’s Grand Prix status and the fact it was their first tournament together.
“Yeah it’s a nice feeling to do this on our first outing together. It was tricky against Maiken and Soren as we all know each other so well” said Christiansen.
“They played well and we have to credit them with good play to win that second set but we knew that if we stuck to our game plan we could do it in the third” said Thygesen.
Mathias Christiansen was of course on for the double but came up short in the men’s doubles final alongside David Daugaard.
Zhang takes title with a Bang
Beiwen Zhang, the much travelled but always classy American based Chinese was a class apart this week in Almere. The Las Vegas based player did not drop a set en route to the title as she apparently effortlessly brushed aside the challenge of Hsu Ya Ching in today final.
Completely dominate it was just a question of time after the first shuttle was hit as to when the 2014 champion would lift the title. She duly delivered with a 21-11 21-19 win.
Elsewhere Australia upset the title defence of the Stoeva sisters with Gronya Somerville and Setyana Mapasa beating the Stoeva sisters at their own game in three games this afternoon.
“We have had a poor record against the Stoeva’s this past year so it was nice to win this one and do it at Grand Prix level gives us great motivation for the season ahead” said Somerville.
In the men’s singles final Tzu Wei Wang ended the hat trick hopes of India’s Ajay Jayaram. Another long match that went the distance the Chinese Taipei playing falling to his knees winning the third set 21-18.
For all results from today’s finals play in Almere click HERE
To re visit all the court action on demand via YouTube click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe