Pang's ‘Dutch Courage’ to be put to the test
Date: 10/7/2013 7:37 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
The 65th edition of the Yonex Dutch Open takes place this coming week at the 3000 capacity Topsportcentrum Almere, the youngest city in The Netherlands. In such an anniversary year there will be additional pressure on the shoulders of the home athletes to deliver. Eric Pang (pictured) returns to defend his 2012 crown and the Dutch number 1’s title defence has been made all the more difficult by the inclusion of some Chinese young guns in the draw. 

Pang has had a decent start to the new season and the veteran always performs well on his home soil putting his past success down to the fact he gets to sleep in his own bed and eat his own food.

“It is nice to be able to sleep in my own bed and eat my own food plus the home support is always worth some points” said Pang about previous Dutch Opens.

The draw has been reasonably kind to the world number 31 who is not scheduled to meet the first of the Chinese until late in the tournament at semi-final stage. Malaysia will look to take the top step of the podium for the first time since 2006 and they certainly have the fire power to do so in the shape of Chun Seang Tan (2) and Abdul Latif (3).

Europe will look to European Championship runner up Henri Hurskainen to bring the fight to Asia and the Jekyll and Hyde characteristics of Finland’s Ville Lang can beat any player in front of him on any given day. All depends which version of Lang’s character turns up in Almere this coming week.

Click here for the full men's singles draw

Kristina Gavnholt was the unlikely women’s singles winner in 2012 and like Pang the inclusion of top Asian talent makes the Czech number 1’s defence all the more difficult. Gavnholt has struggled early season and realistic European hopes might rest with the fresh Sashina Vignes Waran, a rejuvenated Karin Schnaase and Irelands Chloe Magee holding some outside chances. The challenge facing Europe’s elite is made all the more difficult with the inclusion of world number 16 Porntip Buranaprasertsuk and compatriot and world number 20 Busanan Ongbumrungpan.

Click here for the full women's singles draw

Bankier & Nedelcheva dip their toes at GP level

After dominating the season so far with a hat trick of wins on the European circuit Petya Nedelcheva and Imogen Bankier make the step up to Grand Prix this week as they continue their development as a world class pairing.
There is a distinct possibility that the Scottish/Bulgarian duo could add their first GP win to their collection of International Challenge victories but should they fail the Stoeva Sisters will be on hand to pick up the pieces.

The final between both pairs at the Belgian International four weeks ago was the nearest Nedelcheva and Bankier have come to being beaten this year but both pairs will have to come through the tough side of the draw to emerge victorious in Almere this week.

Click here for the full women's doubles draw

Dutch Opportunities in Mixed and Men’s Doubles

The Dutch contingent will need little motivation in this the biggest tournament in the Dutch badminton calendar. Home court, food and bed advantage is sure to be key for the Dutch players and realistically the doubles events represent the best chance of a home victory.

Bosch and Ridder have a chance to ease themselves into the tournament before getting a real test at quarter finals stage and junior pair of Caljouw and Teeuwen have the talent to mix it with the best in both singles and doubles. In the mixed doubles Jacco Arends and Selena Piek are as good as it gets from a European perspective and if they can get over their Singaporean hurdle in round 1 momentum, and no shortage of talent, could carry them through to a final where anything becomes possible.

Click here for the full men's doubles and mixed doubles draw

Anniversary celebrations both on and off the court.

Throughout the entire week of the 65th Dutch Open the organisers have a non-stop chain of events running alongside the tournament. The successful youth clinics return with Lotte Jonathans at the helm as well as Junior master tournaments with the International Coaches Conference being held on Saturday 12th of October with top level contributors such as Peter Gade and BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer.

Click here for all previous champions of the Yonex Dutch Open.

Badminton Europe TV will be in Almere streaming all the live action starting on main round day (Wednesday). Log in and subscribe and watch free at Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel by clicking HERE

Article by Mark Phelan. Photo by BadmintonPhoto.
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