(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
How did the CoE players do at the 2021 Spain Masters?
Date: 5/26/2021 11:34 AM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
Three women’s singles players and one men’s singles player from the Centre of Excellence took part in the 2021 Spain Masters. Find out how it went for them. 

With 14 permanent European players training at Badminton Europe’s Centre of Excellence in Holbæk, Denmark, and some who join on a temporary basis, there is usually someone representing the training centre at the main tournaments. 

This time the Spain Masters, there were four players from the CoE that were ready to give it their all in Huelva: Czech Republic’s Katerina Tomalova, Slovakia’s Martina Repiska, Denmark’s Irina Amalie Andersen, and Sweden’s Felix Burestedt. Let’s take a look at how they have done in one of this month’s big events.

Just one match to show their talent
Two women’s singles players from the CoE only had the chance of enjoying the Spain Masters for a single match. Katerina Tomalova and Martina Repiska sadly left the tournament on their first day, but still got to give the audiences watching from home a good show while playing against great players.

Katerina Tomalova faced the huge challenge of playing against Clara Azurmendi who had the advantage of playing on home soil. However, the Spaniard has not been getting as many good results as she might have wanted in her latest performances. Still, Azurmendi was fighting hard in both women’s singles and women’s doubles.

The CoE player started off both games with good runs, especially in the second in which Tomalova upped her game and made it more difficult for Azurmendi to get the win.

-Tomalova tried to shift the speed of shuttle, doing different kind of shots from the back so it was more difficult for me to the get points, Azurmendi explained.

Tomalova and Azurmendi had last met on court a long time ago, at the 2019 Orléans Masters, where the Czech player lost to her opponent. History repeated itself with a similar outcome for Tomalova, 9-21, 10-21.

It was also a loss for Martina Repiska. The Slovak player is currently 22 in the European ranking, proving that she is one of the continent’s best players at 25-years-old and so she gave a longer battle against Yaelle Hoyaux.

It all started off with what could have led up to be a win for Repiska, but Hoyaux quickly kept up with the pace and turned it around to get a win by 21-12, 15-21, 14-21.

Longer fights and even a quarterfinal
Felix Burestedt was one of the CoE players who succeeded in getting past the first match. The 26-year-old men’s singles player beat no other than Carlos Piris who had a little extra motivation as he was playing in his native country. The 26-year-old player has delivered some great performances in the previous months, one of them being a win against Israel’s number one Misha Zilberman in the 2021 European Championships.

That did not seem to matter since Burestedt won 21-11, 21-11. He then faced Cheam June Wei in an intense three-game clash that saw him fighting for 63 minutes. The Swede got the first game, but Cheam stepped up his game with a great come back to win the encounter 21-14, 15-21, 16-21.

But if there was one CoE player that got to impress everyone, that is Irina Amalie Andersen. The Dane had a tough first match in the tournament. She had to face Marie Batomene, and the French player had just come from playing the Portuguese International Championships less than two weeks ago. Batomene stormed into the finals and finished runner-up. 

Andersen had also played in the event, and the 22-year old women’s singles player had almost made it to quarterfinals, but Beatriz Corrales got in her way.

After a difficult three-game challenge, Andersen won 14-21, 24-22, 21-14. Feelings were running high as she seemed quite emotional in her post-match interview after a deserved win.

-It was a tough, long match. I was really struggling getting to play with more speed, I played way too slow in the beginning and I had to play fast against her because she’s really strong, Andersen said.

She then faced Ireland’s Kate Frost who did not pose that much of a threat to her as the Dane swiftly moved onto the next round, but it was not going to be so easy with her next opponent. Swiss player Jenjira Stadelmann also took the match to three games, and it was a close call in the last two. Andersen did not make it, but it was nonetheless an impressive feat. Getting to quarterfinals in such a big event is no easy task, and Andersen, who has been training at the CoE for two years now, can certainly be proud of her performance at the Spain Masters.
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