There's only one Special Bethell, walking along (Badminton Europe/Mark Phelan)
Bethell sensational as Meril marches on
Date: 5/11/2019 10:31 PM
Published by : Bobby Griffin (BEC)

Daniel Bethell was pushed all the way in today’s semi-final against world number 1 Pramod Bhagat.

Team GB’s Daniel Bethell found his rhythm in the second game of yesterday’s quarter-final against India’s Manoj Sarkar. When the Englishman discovered a way to control the rallies no matter what Sarkar threw at him, he cruised through to today’s semis past a man that has always caused him difficulty.

There is another Indian that causes Bethell even more trouble, world champion Pramod Bhagat who has won more titles in the last 2 years than any other SL3 men’s singles player. The winner of all 3 internationals so far this year which places him unquestionably at the top of the Road to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic qualifying ranking list.

He took the first set off the European Champion today, it could have gone either way but the Indian looked that little bit more composed. Bethell took an early lead in the second and held on to the end. 

Read: Day 2 over in Farum

I knew it was going to be tough!

The third game was an epic! It finished 19-21, 21-14, 22-20.  We caught up with Daniel after the match:

“It’s been a really good tournament for me so far. My game plan in the quarters was spot on and I executed it well. A win in 2 sets was a big bonus, half court singles takes so much energy and helped me for today’s match.”

“Pramod is an exceptional player, and world number 1 for a reason. He beat me in Dubai in 3 sets and ran away with that final. I knew today was going to be tough! He came out much faster than I expected, but the rallies were 50/50 and he started to tire in the second set”

“I had to start taking some risks and that worked against me at times. I was match point down but still felt relaxed. They were my errors, rather than him beating me. 2 net-cords in the last 3 points helped, that’s sport and sometimes luck is on your side.”

“I want to thank my Coach and my Team. That’s the first time I’ve beaten him in 4 attempts and a really important win, but the work is not done yet. I’m going to rest up and cheer on my teammates and get ready to go again tomorrow”

A new dawn for Meril Loquette

They say good things come in 3’s. Well European sport has seen two amazing performances already this week. Liverpool 3-0 down in the first leg to Barcelona, coming back to win 4-3. Spurs defeating Ajax when Lucas Moura scored a second-half hattrick to make the Champions League final. And Meril Loquette’s performance at the Canada Para-Badminton International.

What the French SU5 has done already this week is nothing short of remarkable. We wrote yesterday how his play in the group stages would have been worthy of a mention, besides beating Gen Shogaki in the last 16 and Bartlomiej Mroz to make it to the semi-finals.

Well.. he just beat Indonesia’s Suryo Nugroho, the world number three, 14-21, 21-16, 22-20.

There were smashes, there were dives, there was defence beyond belief. There are times when words can’t describe what we witnessed and this is one of them. Meril Loquette, we take our hats off to you Sir. What a comeback!

German wheels motoring onwards

Germany’s WH1 world number ones, Knoblauch and Wandschneider have both made it to their singles finals, albeit both had to fight tooth-and-nail to get there.

Valeska Knoblauch faced Sarina Satomi in the women’s singles for the fourth time today, the Japanese ahead 2-1 in the head-to-head. The 21-11, 18-21, 21-17 win sees Knoblauch face her old foe Karin Suter-Erath (SUI) in tomorrow’s final, a repeat of that great European Championship final 6 months ago. We spoke with Valeska after the match:

“I feel relieved! I was nervous yesterday but more comfortable and confident today. I relaxed and focussed on the positives, and my Coach helped me through it.”

“I am well prepared for tomorrow, but also I know Karin is a tough opponent. But yes, I am ready for the final!”

The spread of power could not be wider at the top of the men’s WH1 singles rankings. Thomas Wandschneider had luck on his side when he avoided Korean opposition in his half of the draw, such is the strength of the nation in this event.

Still, Hiroshi Murayama (JPN) gave the German a hard time with a 21-13, 18-21, 23-21 performance that sees Wandschneider take on Lee Dong Seop in tomorrow’s final, who himself came through a 16-21, 21-18, 25-23 win over teammate Choi Jung Man.

The Canada Para-Badminton International 2019 continues this week. Watch the matches live on YouTube, type ‘canadian badminton’ into the search for 8 live courts, and look out for updates and results each day on tournament software here.

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