Dawn of a New Singles Era
Date: 4/21/2014 8:53 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
The 2014 INTERSPORT European Championships represents the dawn of a new era in terms of female singles with a new champion guaranteed come Sunday 27th April. With the retirement of both defending champion Tine Baun and arch rival Juliane Schenk the door is now wide open for one of Europe’s young guns to assume the mantle of Europe’s best shuttler.

Marin looks to add senior title to 2011 Junior success

Even without Baun there is still a clear favourite to lift the European title this week in Kazan. Spain’s Carolina Marin, whom you will remember almost achieved a medal at the world championships in 2013, will start as clear favourite and is sure to be in a confident mood after recently breaking the Asian dominated top 10 of the world ranking list.

The Spaniard, on form alone, has the beating of all before her and should in theory go unchallenged all the way to the semi-final. Linda Zetchiri, Sashina Vignes Waran and Chloe Magee are the seeds in Spaniards side of the draw but probably the biggest danger to Marin may well come from Line Kjærsfeldt who has shown dominant form in 2014 and has limited her tournament schedule in preparation for the 2014 INTERSPORT European Championships. A coming of age performance at the European women’s team championship in Basel followed by a dominant win at the Finnish Open only last week sets the Dane out from the rest as the main threat to Marin’s unquestionable class.

Indeed Spain have the unique opportunity to claim a pair of medals with Beatriz Corrales avoiding her team mate down the bottom half of the draw. Corrales will have a stiff test against Sandra Maria Jensen of Denmark before a likely quarter final match up against veteran Bulgarian Petya Nedelcheva to decide a medal.

Second seed Kirsty Gilmour to has eased of on what was a hectic tournament schedule to prepare for Kazan. The Scot will have plenty of time to ease into the tournament with a series of matches that on paper she should win early in the competition before a potential shoot out against club mate Corrales before a mouth-watering final against Marin.

As her seeding hints the Scot has played second fiddle to Marin in all their recent meetings and Gilmour will relish the opportunity to set that record straight on the biggest European stage of them all.

In the pick of the opening round matches Russia’s wildcard Ella Diehl will face off against Karin Schnaase in a battle of the veterans and the winner will move on with confidence and with a real shout of a medal as the draw opens out in from of them.

Click HERE for the full #EC2014 women's singles draw

Time to right the wrongs of 2012

It has been a good week for Danish men’s singles badminton if world rankings are anything to go by. For the first time in a few years Denmark have three players inside the top 16 in the world and all three, Jan Ø. Jørgensen, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Viktor Axelsen will be reasonably happy with their preparations ahead of the trip to Kazan.

All three are more accomplished professionals since the disaster of Karlskrona in 2012 and all three have avoided each other until the business end of the tournament.

What may work against the trio is their heavy Super Series schedules with recent trips to India and Singapore weighing heavy on the legs and factor in a Danish league final for both Jørgensen and Vittinghus the Danes might just be leg weary come the flights to Kazan early next week.

All that aside class is permanent and the Danes are the class of the field and Sweden in 2012 is sure to offer as motivation to succeed rather than hamper progress.

Reigning champion Marc Zwiebler has featured very little on the tournament circuit in 2014 but a lacklustre 2014 European Men’s Team Championships performance in Basel and an early exit at the All England is not inspiring form to be heading into a title defending championship.

England’s Rajiv Ouseph knows how to win European medals as he did so in Manchester in 2010 and a favourable draw will see the English number one most likely go to battle with Vittinghus for a semi-final medal spot.

Some interesting first round ties see a reborn Kestutis Navickas take on Raul Must (Estonia) while Dmytro Zavadsky (Ukraine) will have his hands full against second Swede Gabriel Ulldahl. Belgian number one Yuhan Tan will be set the task of bringing silver medallist from Karlskrona, Henri Hurskainen back down to earth and as always Finland’s 8th seed Ville Lång has the beating of anyone on his day, it just remains to be seen if the Finn will have 5 of those days on the run in Kazan.

Click HERE for the full #EC2014 men's singles draw

All the action from Kazan kicks off live on Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel next Tuesday. To watch for free subscribe by clicking HERE
For news updates and all news from Kazan follow Badminton Europe on twitter by clicking HERE

Article by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe. Photos by BadmintonPhoto.
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