A First Visit for BETV as locals look to shine
Date: 3/25/2014 1:51 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
The French International kicks off this week in Orleans, the home of CLTO badminton, and in just two short years has earned the reputation and one of the premier challenge events on the Badminton Europe circuit. Three of the five winners from 2013 are back to defend their titles and it will be a first for BETV with a full streaming schedule for the entirety of the tournament.

After the inaugural staging in 2013, the French International gained a widely accepted reputation as being one of the best events on the circuit calendar and as a result has attracted a quality field to the Palais Des Sports in the city centre for the 2014 event.

Leverdez looking to go back to back

French number one Brice Leverdez (pictured) is top seed in the men’s singles draw and will be looking to improve on his semi-final showing from last year. Leverdez has limited his circuit appearances this season to a minimum but when he has appeared on court he has been prolific. Wins at the Swiss International, Scottish Open GP and last week’s Polish Open will have Leverdez singled out as the one to beat in Orleans and the French number 1 will be keen to confirm his form from Warsaw on home soil this coming week.

Leverdez will have to hit the ground running in an opening game against Finland’s Eetu Heino and with old rival Andre Kurniawan Tedjono, Pablo Abian and Italian based Indonesian Indra Bagus Ade Chandra all on the French shuttlers side of the draw, a win on home soil is going to have to come the hard way.

Fond French Memories for Corrales

Spain’s Beatriz Corrales will look back at the 2013 edition of the French International with fond memories. Not only did she win the event but it was the start of a winning streak that saw her go on a run of four finals in a row where she won three.

Corrales is back in Orleans to defend her title and will be looking for a repeat performance to maintain her world ranking. With Linda Zetchiri and Japans Yuka Kusunose, both semi-finalists from last year and both players Corrales will have to beat to lift the title, the enormity of the challenge facing the Spanish number two becomes apparent.

Like Corrales Polish men’s doubles duo Cwalina & Wacha return to Orleans knowing it has been a happy hunting ground in the past and a traditional peak period for the well-travelled Poles.

Cwalina and Wacha will know they are in good shape heading to Orleans after winning their home Polish International last week exactly as they did in 2013 and are looking to lift their 9th title since their French International victory last year, a remarkable feat of consistency in itself.

Tough assignment mentally for Blair and Bankier

Scotland’s Robert Blair and Imogen Bankier return to mixed doubles competition after a week off although Bankier did travel to Poland last week to compete in women’s doubles alongside Petya Nedelcheva. The Scots are the class act in the field this coming week and as reigning champions will be fancied to lift back to back French International title.

However, fatigue both mentally and physically may yet play a part in the Scots destiny as a gruelling Commonwealth schedule is sure to have taken its toll with Bankier in particular trying to balance two women’s doubles careers alongside her world number 15 partnership with Blair. A fantastic German Open win seems light years ago and the Scottish duo will look to pick the pieces up after lacklustre Swiss Open and All England performances.

With the unbeatable Piek & Muskens taking a well-earned rest this week in women’s doubles the opportunity falls to Denmark’s Røpke and Kruse to register their first win since May last year as they attempt to kick start their 2014.

Badminton Europe TV will broadcast the entire tournament live of our dedicated YouTube channel. To watch click HERE to subscribe for free.

For all draws for French International click HERE

Article by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe. Photo by BadmintonPhoto.
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