Coombs in contrast (Badminton Europe / Mark Phelan)
Coombs goes for his first title in 2 years
Date: 4/6/2019 8:05 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

6 places have been earned by Europeans on finals day tomorrow, and one man from Devon has his sights on gold.

Dartmoor. Clotted Cream. The Mayflower Steps. Pasties. And Krysten Coombs. 

5 things that Devon, in the south west of England is famous for. Okay, Team GB’s Krysten Coombs might not be world famous just yet, but if his dreams of winning Paralympic Gold come true that would go a long way to making his name.

A state of déjà vu today as the SS6 men’s singles draw for the semi-finals in Dubai looked very familiar. Jack Shephard vs Nagar Krishna. Chu Man Kai vs. Krysten Coombs. A repeat of last week’s Turkish semi-final layout. All 4 men with a genuine chance of winning the Paralympics made a good start in Turkey, the first Tokyo 2020 qualifying tournament, with Hong Kong’s Chu Man Kai taking the title when he defeated Indian Krishna in the final.

Unfortunately for GB’s Shephard, a repeat result but this time in straight games, Krishna simply had too much speed for the Englishman and made his way to tomorrow’s final. Waiting for him, Krysten Coombs, chomping-at-the-bit.

READ: Jakobsen gets a second chance

In the first against Chu Man Kai (HKG), Coombs started fast. He got a little quicker as the game went on.. and sped up even more at the end! 10 unanswered points gave Coombs a 15-7 lead, another 5 straight points from 15-8 and the writing was on the wall. Coombs couldn’t miss and his tactics were spot on.

Game 2 was a little closer, but Coombs had the lead after 3-3 and maintained a gap all the way, as the semi-final against the Turkish Champion went on. Kai hit a few winners but overall it was the Englishman who controlled the match and two straight games was a fair result today. With the man from Hong Kong China already with a 2019 win in his pocket, it was crucial for the English 1 and 2 in the world to stop him taking another. Coombs, delighted, had this to say:

“The tactics we planned went right. I managed an intensity and used my speed and power well today. I felt great right from the start. The score was almost a shock when I was 20-8 up in the first, what’s going on here I was thinking!?”

“Days in, days out, training. Monday to Friday, 5 hours a day on court. That’s what it has taken to prepare me to come out and hit the shuttle like that from the start. Hitting thousands of shuttles, playing games upon games and practicing in different conditions.. I didn’t really think. It becomes instinctive.”

“I want the win. I need it. It has been ages since a singles win, nearly two years at the Irish in fact. So it is needed.”

European wheels falling off

In similar circumstances on this first International back-to-back tour, European wheelchair players struggle to make it to finals day here in Dubai. No players in the wheelchair classes made it to the finals last week in Turkey and today just one European pair did. Swiss Luca Olgiati with partner Karin Suter-Erath will take on China’s number 2 seeds Qu Zimao and Liu Yutong in the WH1-2 mixed doubles.

Loquette locks on target

SU5 men’s singles player Meril Loquette pushed world number 1 Cheah Liek Hou (MAL) to a close fought 16-21, 20-22 quarter final earlier today. We spoke to the Frenchman shortly after his impressive performance:

“I’m training every day now, with Sandrine our head coach of the France team. I believe this is the main reason for my performance today and I am very happy. Especially how close the game was in the second. I help coach younger players in between training and 5 days a week I am involved in badminton so it has taken over my life and making a big difference.”

5 European finalists

Lucas Mazur (FRA) cruises into tomorrow’s SL4 men’s singles final after straight set wins all the way through his draw this week. He features again in the SL3-SU5 mixed doubles final with partner Faustine Noel after a superb semi-final performance over Thailand’s Siripong Teamarrom and Saensupa Nipada in 3 games.

Jan-Niklas Pott and Pascal Wolter (GER) managed to use the frame of their rackets more than the strings, hit the net cord 21 times in one game and generally got very lucky in their semi-final against England’s Bobby Griffin and William Smith. Even the shot that hit Smith square between the eyes was a lucky miss-hit from Pott. Nonetheless the Germans (don’t mention the war) make it to the final tomorrow and take on Indonesia’s Dwiyoko and Setiawan. (okay.. okay.. the Germans played very well and deserve it. Hmmmmmmfph.)

Finally, Team GB’s Daniel Bethell is almost back to his best with a huge win yesterday over India’s Manoj Sakar (IND) in the quarters and a confident semi-final win over Daisuke Fujihara (JPN) today. He’s up against a man he’s never beaten tomorrow, India’s Pramod Bhagat.

Good luck to all finalists tomorrow at the 2nd Fazza - Dubai Para-Badminton International. Look out for updates to follow and results on tournament software here with this link.

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