Hurskainen back to his best
Date: 3/31/2012 10:16 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
Semi finals at the Finnish Open was really all about one man and his return to form after a year struggling through injury. It was clear very early on in the tournament that Sweden’s Henri Hurskainen (main picture) was evidently back in the kind of form that saw him win multiple times on the Badminton Europe Circuit over the past number of years. His win over number three seed Eric Pang in the second round was the first clue that Hurskainen was back to his best.

In today’s morning session the Swedish number one took down yet another seed this time it was Russian giant Vladimir Ivanov. If this win was not impressive enough then the manner in which Hurskainen won his semi final against Rasmus Fladberg really rubberstamped the Swede’s return to form. Fladberg got off to the best start and had two set points at 20-18 but Hurskainen levelled at 20-20 and fended off another game point at 21-20 before rallying and taking the set 23-21 to the disbelief of his younger opponent.

The second set almost became an exhibition from Hurskainen as he was out of sight by the mid game interval and every shot he tried came off and Fladberg had no meaningful answers to the barrage of winners from the Swede. Hurskainen went on to take the match with a 21-5 win in the second.

“I knew that things were starting to go well for me in training. I have spent some time in Denmark which has really improved my game and I can now hopefully put my year of injuries behind me. Obviously winning games gives confidence and I feel like anything I try works right now. I hope I can bring this level to the final tomorrow and more importantly this is really encouraging ahead of the Europeans coming up in Sweden in a few weeks” said Hurskainen to Badminton Europe.

The Swede will now play top seed Rajiv Ouseph in tomorrows final after the Englishman defeated Indian Anand Pawar in three sets.

Yao Jie continued her run through the bottom half of the draw to make it to tomorrow’s final with a two set win over Susan Egelstaff. Earlier Egelstaff had effectively achieved her goal by getting to the semi which was one step further than her GB rival for the illusive Olympic spot Elizabeth Cann. The Dutch second seed will now play Canadian Michelle Li for the top prize after Li beat top seed Petya Nedelcheva in two sets.

Elsewhere Ivanov and Sozanov look to be on court for back to back victories after a spectacular win over English duo Adcock & Ellis. They will meet fellow Russians in tomorrow’s final after Ukk and Nikolaenko received a walkover from top seeds Cwalina & Logosz in the semi final. Only back from an injury to Cwalina this time it was the turn of Logosz to pick up an injury in what is proving to be a tough period for the Poles.

There will be no European representation in the Women’s doubles final; actually there was no European representation at all even at semi final stage. The title will go to the winners of the Malaysian versus Canadian clash which should be a fascinating encounter and should go the distance.

Finally top British pairing of Adcock and Bankier look to be in track to victory but know themselves they are not firing on all cylinders just yet. The GB pair will need to find another gear to win the title after the recently crowned Danish national champions Rasmussen and Thygesen look to be improving game after game and hold an enviable record of never having lost a game since coming together as a pair.

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Article and image by Mark Phelan (Live in Helsinki)
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