Events

(Photo: Badminton Europe/ Koen Mutton)
Denmark scrape through and Scotland narrowly deny Finnish win
Date: 2/18/2021 10:17 AM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Day two was completed yesterday at the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships in Vantaa, Finland. Here is how it played out in Group 1.

Champions Denmark had a scare against EMTC19 silver medallists Germany, with the tie going all the way to the bitter end. 

Viktor Axelsen got things underway for Denmark against Fabien Roth. Being number two in the world, Axelsen does not often come up against opponents with a positive record against him. However, four years ago Roth defeated him at the 2017 European Mixed Team Championships in Lubin, Poland, in their only encounter. He buried this memory by this time making sure of the win, 21-6, 21-9.

-I did not feel totally fresh yesterday, but today I felt way more comfortable on court today and moved better, Axelsen said after stating that he did not have the match four years ago on his mind. 

In a repeat of the 2018 European Championships quarterfinal, Mia Blichfeldt faced Yvonne Li. Some fifteen places behind in the world ranking, Li managed to pull off a remarkable comeback in the second game to win. At 18-14, Li strung together seven consecutive points to level the score of the tie. 

With Kim Astrup not being 100 per cent, two rear-court players, Anders Rasmussen/ Mads Kolding stepped onto court once more. It took three games, but the established duo for Mark Lamsfuss/ Marvin Seidel prevailed in the end, 18-21, 21-15, 21-16. 

With now a must-win match, Alexandra Bøje/ Maiken Fruergaard went up against Isabel Herttrich/ Stine Kispert, two scratch pairings. They were a game down and had to claw their way back in the second game to keep Denmark in it. 

-We are really happy about the win today. We had to work hard for it. But I think we earned it because, in the most important parts of the game, we were cooler, Fruergaard stated. 

With that 20-22, 23-21, 21-17 win in 78 minutes, it was now down to the mixed doubles. Niclas Nøhr/ Amalie Magelund managed to take the first tight game, but with the more aggressive play from Jones Jansen and Kilasu Ostermeyer, the second game was all Germany. 

After some great exchanges to end the day, Denmark breathed a sigh of relief, securing the tie with a 21-19, 14-21, 21-16 victory. 

-We of course felt the pressure, but on the other hand, we felt that it is just one of the five matches. We did feel a little pressure after losing the second game, but all in all, we played some fine badminton, Nøhr explained. 

Scotland deliver a big comeback 
The start to the tie could not have gone much better for Finland, with two singles wins from Kalle Koljonen and Nella Nyqvist. The latter saw Nyqvist, 14, defying a 718 world ranking gap and set up Finland with just one more win to secure a memorable home soil victory.

It was a strangely familiar challenge that Scotland was faced with, as they needed the doubles to deliver and mount a comeback. 

The level doubles delivered two wins to even out the score, with Julie MacPherson/ Ciara Torrance being all too aware of how similar their position was to when they defeated Spain to qualify for the finals, being 2-1 down in the tie and also losing the opening game 21-19. 

-We literally just said that going in. We have been in this situation before, we knew that we can handle it, so that gave us a lot of confidence going into that match. 

Like the other match in Group 1, the mixed doubles settled it. With each side taking turns to put together a run of points, at no point was it clear who would take it. It went all the way to the last few exchanges. Anton Kaisti/ Inalotta Suutarinen were 16-13 up in the decider, but the Scots, Christopher Grimley/ Eleonor O’Donnell then surged ahead with six points on the bounce. They were able to hold on and grab the win. Hear their reaction here.

All interviews from the matches can be found here

To watch all matches live, visit badmintoneurope.tv

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