No surprises on opening day
Date: 2/12/2013 3:06 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
The 2013 European Mixed Team Championships kicked off today in the Moscow suburb of Ramenskoe and as expected there were little or no upsets as all the top teams shook off the cobwebs with decisive victories in the opening group matches.

The home nation got their campaign off to a winning start in front of a packed house with an easy 5-0 victory of European minnows Iceland. The Russians took the opportunity to blood a young team with Yartzev and Perminovo delivery the winning singles points. The rest of the tournament favourites advanced with whitewash victories over lesser ranked opposition but all were glad of the opportunity to get on court and shake off a lot of travel blues.

Germany’s Marc Zwiebler was put under some early pressure from Estonia’s Raul Must before the European Champion eventually prevailed in three games. “It was a long days travelling yesterday and I was not feeling too good on court today. But I knew Raul would run and run so I just stayed focused to get the win” said Zwiebler.

Germany introduced Juliane Schenk in the final women’s doubles after utilising the versatile Olga Konon at singles. Schenk, only back from Indonesian league duty, showed no ill effects of her exhaustive travel schedule in taking the match alongside partner Johanna Goliszewski to give the Germans their first clean sweep.

Denmark entered the fray in the evening session and never had to extend themselves to destroy near neighbours Norway. Natalia Koch Rhode made her senior debut at women’s singles and the Danes anchored by Rasmus Bonde and Line Kjaersfeldt who made two appearances each sent out a clear message to their nearest challengers that they still are the team to be beaten.

“It was a tough day yesterday and we are all feeling tired today as a result. But it is the same for everyone and it was just good to get into the hall and get a feel for the atmosphere even though my body was not feeling great” said Viktor Axelsen to Badminton Europe.

England too looked impressive in their opener against Latvia and the stand out performances came from the experienced Jenny Wallwork and Andy Ellis, both of whom were returning from injury. The only blip on the English copy book was Sarah Walkers first set loss to Ieva Pope. The new English national champion settle her nerves to bounce back to win in three to set England up nicely ahead of their clash with Lithuania.

In two of the most eagerly anticipated ties of the round Ireland destroyed Finland 4-1 with Scott Evans continuing the good run of form that saw him win two circuit tournaments in the past two months.

“It was always going to be 50/50 in my match against Ville Lang so I was pleasantly surprised with the way I beat him. The rest of the team performed well and this will give us great confidence in what should be a group shoot out against France” said Scott Evans to Badminton Europe.

Ukraine beat Belgium by a similar score line as both the Tan siblings failed to sparkle in the singles events. The only light at the end of the tunnel for the Belgians was the women’s doubles victory for Corvilian and Annys over Griga and Kobceva. The Belgians will feel a little bit unlucky coming out on the wrong side of three matches that went the distance but Ukraine look to have strength in depth and the balance within their team is certainly the envy of the majority of the competing nations.

All the action is live every day on and for the first time available to viewers outside Europe on Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel.

For full results click HERE.

Article by Mark Phelan (Live in Ramenskoe)
Photo by Badminton Photo (Live)
© All rights reserved.

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