(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Old friends meet again
Date: 4/27/2022 7:43 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
Everyone wants a spot in the quarterfinals so our players gave a good fight against their opponents. Many have seen or will be seeing some old faces that they know quite well on their way to the much-desired medals.

Today, players fought to win and go through to the quarterfinals. For some, it was their first day at the event, and it required them to quickly adapt to the fast shuttles. We also said goodbye to seeded players. Misha Zilberman beat fourth seed Mark Caljouw 21-16, 15-21, 21-16; and Qi Xuefei booked herself a spot in the quarterfinals by winning against number five seed Yvonne Li, 21-13 21-15.

Many players have played each other on previous occasions, and some know each other quite well, which can make for interesting encounters. Some of our winners today have met and will be meeting old friends on Europe’s biggest stage.

Meeting on court for ten years
Kirsty Gilmour, Scotland, had to face Estonia’s Kristin Kuuba. The players had met just last year at the Denmark Open, where Gilmour won in straight games. It wouldn’t be so easy this time, as the match went to three games, 18-21, 21-9, 21-15.

- My draw here this year, just like last year, has names in every round of people that can do a lot of damage. I don’t think I’m touching my best badminton, but I’m doing enough, Gilmour said.

- I have played here in Madrid a lot of times but I forgot to check the altitude here, so breathing is a bit difficult, but nothing that I can’t deal with. The conditions are fast but with each game that you play, you gather some more information. You see the style that’s going to fit you best, Gilmour explained.

Tomorrow, she will be meeting with Lianne Tan in the quarterfinal. Right after the Scottish player’s match, she mentioned how she would like to meet the Belgian player, although Tan still had to get the victory in her match today.

- Lianne and I have been playing against each other for ten years now. It’s crazy that I can say that about anyone. I know her strengths and weaknesses, and I’m going to see what damage I can do to them. I’m going to go and do my homework with my team, Gilmour explained.

In fact, tomorrow’s match will be a déjà vu for Gilmour and Tan, who also met in the quarterfinals of the 2021 European Championships in Kyiv. That match resulted in a win for the Scottish player, who won a bronze medal in the event.

- We know each other very well, it’s a long way back. I’m excited for it. Of course, it’s the quarterfinals, so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m hoping for a good game for both of us, Tan said.

Another quarterfinal from last year’s championships will have two of its opponents meeting again. Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen, who did not play today due to a walkover from German player Max Weisskirchen, will be playing against Thomas Rouxel, France. At last year’s event, the Dane won 21-14 21-15.

A familiar face behind the opponents
We will also be seeing Marcus Ellis/ Lauren Smith in the quarterfinals. The English duo have already won two medals and before advancing onto the next stage, they had to beat French pair William Villeger/ Anne Tran. When asked about the draw, Smith already mentioned the tough opposition that awaited for them in Madrid, and the French pair were an example of this.

- We knew they were tough opposition, they’re a really strong pair. The shuttles are quite fast and they’re difficult to control. It’s quite a dangerous thing to have. We started too slow but we settled in quite early in the second game. It got really close, but we never give up and the opponents knew that. That fight and our experience pulled us through to the win, Smith explained.

The game went to three games and Ellis/ Smith got the win this time, 13-21, 21-16, 21-19. The person sitting behind Villeger/ Tran and guiding them was a familiar face to the English duo, especially to Ellis. Chris Langridge, his former men’s doubles partner with whom he won two European medals, was at the coach’s seat for the French players.

- It’s tough. Chris knows me and my game, inside out. I’m sure he also felt a little awkward about it, but that’s his job. It’s the way that badminton is, people move around and coach different players. It’s great to see him still in this environment, coaching the top players, Ellis stated.

Do you want to hear what the other players had to say today at the 2022 European Championships? Then head to our Facebook and Youtube for exclusive interviews, and check our Instagram for the latest photos.
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