Today was one of those days at the Scottish Open where the stakes were high and the quality of badminton on show even higher. Court 2 proved to be a battleground royal as both Sabrina Jaquet and Anders Antonsen emerged victorious to book their final spots.
Jaquet has been the player of the year so far around Europe and today she and her opponent Mia Blichfeldt served up a match of epic proportions which was by far the match of the tournament if not the match of the season to date.
Both women do not know how to give up and both proved their battling qualities today on court 2 in a match that stretched to three games and 75 minutes. Jaquets experience and physical prowess against the youthful exuberance of Blichfeldt was always going to throw up some exciting rallies and both girls delivered in bucketful’s this afternoon in the Emirates Arena.
Blichfeldt came out on top in the opening exchanges taking the first set and looked to have things under control leading 15-11 in the second. However, Sabrina Jaquet does not give up and 5 points in a row brought her back into the game and match and she fended off two match points to take the second set and send the match into a deciding rubber.
As Blichfeldt got a lead in the second so did Jaquet in the decider leading 17-13 and again 19-16. But there was still a lot of badminton left to play and the Dane came storming back to give herself yet another match point at 20-19.
What happened next was almost unbelievable and Blichfeldt started to celebrate after playing a sublime cross court drop that her opponent had no right to retrieve but retrieve it Jaquet did and managed to play a cross net for good measure to level the score at 20-20.
From there the Swiss number 1 seized the initiative and rattled off two more points to take the set 22-20 and with it the match and her place in the final.
“It was such a tough match and I really started bad and took so long to get into the game. I fight for everything and I know I can always rely on my physical condition in matches and I think I just had a little more in my tank today than Mia. That point at 20-19 was just crazy but I just never give in and this time it payed off and I am so happy to be in the final here in Glasgow” commented Jaquet after her epic battle and victory.
Jaquet will now face off against Mette Poulsen in tomorrow’s final after Poulsen came through easily against compatriot Julie Finne-Ipsen.
Court number 2 continued to provide drama as a techy men’s singles match almost boiled over between Henri Hurskainen and Anders Antonsen. Both men did very well to hold their nerve and stay patient after a series of controversial line calls with Antonsen receiving a yellow card for his protests late on in the game.
The Swede looked to have things in the bag leading 19-16 in the deciding set but like Jaquet before him the young Dane was not about to let a chance at a Grand Prix title slip through his fingers. Antonsen’s demeanour changed for the remainder of the match and the ‘self talk’ got louder with each passing point until 5 consecutive points later the Dane had secured his place in the final. Whatever he was telling himself clearly worked and the European Junior Champion is now within one win of his first Grand prix title.
Hall flies flag for Scotland
Top seeds and 2014 champions David Daugaard and Mathias Christiansen are clearly at home on the Emirates Arena courts. In today’s semi-final, the Danes looked to be enjoying their match as they smiled their way to their second final with a win over Liao & Lu of Taipei.
The Danes while top seeds may be just slight favourites for the title but their opponents will have the backing of the Emirates crowd tomorrow as Adam Hall looks for his first big win alongside Peter Mills.
The English/Scottish pair have been a bit hit this week and Hall, buoyed by the home support, will now want to go the whole way and lift the title with Mills on home turf.
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Article and images by Mark Phelan (Live in Glasgow)