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(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Russia finds winning form to outplay Germany
Date: 11/1/2020 1:31 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
After winning their opening tie against Portugal, the second seeds Russia struggled in the next two group matches. They came back from a 0-2 deficit twice to overcome Sweden and Czech Republic. In today’s quarterfinal, Russia faced a familiar rival Germany after topping the group yesterday. 

The second seeds got a perfect start. Having lost all their opening matches in the tournament so far, Egor Kholkin/Anastasiia Boiarun gave their team the initial lead by easily winning the mixed doubles 21-15, 21-12. They shocked the second seeds Aaron Sonnenschein/Leona Michalski. 

The fourth seed Matthias Kicklitz equalled the score for Germany at 1-1. In the men’s singles, the Russian Georgii Lebedev has been unable to justify his fifth seed and lost his third consecutive match 21-16, 22-20. 

Mariia Golubeva failed to capitalise on a game point in the opener and lost 22-20. However, she did not disappoint as she put behind her mistakes to come back strongly against Mareike Bittner. She handed back the advantage to Russia 2-1 by taking the next two games 21-18, 21-9. 

Lebedev redeems himself
A strong Russian contingent has been able to make up for Lebedev’s losses in the men’s singles. As he took the court once again, he made no mistakes and played an impressive attacking play with partner Egor Kholkin. The men’s doubles top seeds comfortably sealed Russia’s victory 21-16, 21-12.

Germany’s dreams were shattered as Russia rose to the occasion and elevated their game to triumph 3-1. 

No stopping France
The two-time defending champions France had the most successful group stage outing. The third seeds Serbia posed some tough questions in today’s tie but France answered them all. In addition, they reached a fifth consecutive semifinal. 

In the opening mixed doubles, Christo Popov/Flavie Vallet emerged victorious 21-17, 18-21, 21-18 in a 43-minute battle against Mihajlo Tomic/Andjela Vitman.

- It was a very important match. We had to win the point. Now, we will focus on our next matches. We played tactically better towards the end, Popov said.

- We had to create more pressure at the net and our attack paid off, he continued.  

Best wishes for Toma Junior 
Christo Popov wished his older brother and former men’s singles champion here, Toma Junior Popov the best for the SaarLorLux Open final later today. 

- It’s amazing bro! Good luck, he smiled from ear-to-ear.   

Playing his first singles in the tournament, Ivan Kovacevic did extremely well to win the first game 21-19. However, the French athlete Alex Lanier played at a much higher level in the next two games as he blew away the Serbian 21-8, 21-9. Kovacevic felt that it was cool to play against the country of his birth.

- It is very cool. There is a big friends’ group so it’s okay for me. There was no problem. Alex made many mistakes in the first game. While I played better in the beginning, my shot quality was not good in the later games, Kovacevic noted.  

With France leading 2-0, all hopes lay with the fourth seed Marija Sudimac to get Serbia on the board. Cheered on by her teammates, Anna Tatranova put on a class act against the higher-ranked opponent. She never allowed the Serbian to lead as she took the opener 21-19. In the second game, Sudimac lead 14-11 but Tatranova won ten consecutive points to break the Serbian hearts. 

Later in the day
The stage is set for the second and fourth seeds, Russia and France respectively to play for a finals spot tomorrow. In a repeat of 2018 European Junior Team Championships semifinal clash, Russia will seek to avenge the 3-0 loss to France two years ago. On the other hand, France will give it their all to reach a third consecutive final at the prestigious tournament. 

Watch all matches in full HD on badmintoneurope.tv

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