Circuit

Gavnholt downs Goto
Date: 1/20/2012 10:28 AM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

Japan has always sent a strong women’s singles team to Sweden and for the past two years won the title in the hands of Kaori Imabeppu. This year was no exception and in the hands of Ai Goto (WR 22) Japan were one again clear favourite to take a hat trick of women singles titles. But best laid plans have a habit of coming unstuck and the Japanese dominance in Stockholm came to an end this afternoon in the hands of Czech number one Kristina Gavnholt (main picture).

Gavnholt looked to be dead and buried in the opening set trailing 14-7 but somehow pulled the game from the flames to dent the confidence of Goto winning 22-20.  The diminutive Japanese came back to level with a win in the second game and even at that point she was still favourite to go on and take the match in the decider but Gavnholt remained calm and collected and showed little or no emotion in taking the match 21-16 to send the number 1 seed home on an early flight to Tokyo.

Matching Gavnholt in the pure guts and determination department today was Karin Schnaase from Germany. Schnaase, looking as fit and as strong as she has ever been, blew Irelands Chloe Magee off the court in the early round before instilling the same fate to emerging Spanish talent Beatriz Corrales in two sets.

“I am so pleased and feel very happy and relaxed on the court. I am feeling very fit after a short break from the game due to my army commitments which seems to have helped me so I look forward now to seeing how far I can progress in the tournament” said Schnaase to Badminton Europe.

In the men’s singles a rejuvenated Scott Evans, the Irish number one, continued to build on the form he showed last week in Estonia. The Irishman, showing no ill effects from a niggling wrist injury, advanced to the quarter final with ease and looks to be a real contender now for the title.

Viktor Axelsen is the top seed left in the men’s draw but was honest in admitting that he is here without his so called ‘A’ game. It is always a positive to still win when not playing to your full potential and Axelsen will be happy now to just be in the quarter final draw tomorrow. The Dane will face Ville Lang and anyone who witnessed the corresponding match between both men last year will remember it as one of the matches of the entire year.
“My game has not been consistent lately and today it is clear that I was not on my ‘A’ game at all. But I will rest tonight and look forward to playing Ville tomorrow. I cannot guarantee a match like last year as I think I have grown up a bit since then as I am 18 now” said a joking Axelsen to Badminton Europe.

For all results click HERE

For photo gallery Live from Stockholm click HERE and follow the link to Badminton Europe’s Facebook page.

Article and Gallery Images by Mark Phelan (Live in Stockholm)

©badmintoneurope.com. All rights reserved.

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