Germans get tactic right against gutsy Spanish
Date: 2/12/2014 10:24 PM
Published by : Manuel Røsler

The reigning women’s team champions Germany came out on the right side of a tactical selection battle against a Carolina Marin led Spanish side to all but secure their position on the top of group two in Basel.

The decision to play veteran and doubles specialist Birgit Michels in singles proved to be inspirational and with Olga Konon proving once again that she has the talent to beat anyone on the big stage team Germany got across the finish line with a 3-2 win.

As expected European star Carolina Marin got the Spaniards off to a perfect start taking the opening singles in two games against a resilient Karin Schnaase (pictured). The pressure then fell on the shoulders of Olga Konon to effectively keep the Germans in the tie and the German did just that against another one of Europe’s most consistent players Beatriz Corrales.

The first game was tight with the German scraping home 23-21 but Konon was able to find a few more gears in the second to cruise to the win 21-8 in the second game. The German not only dealt with the pressure of effectively having to win, and do it against a multiple winner on the circuit, but did it in her first competitive outing after almost 9 months out of the game recovering from injury.

“I was relaxed on the court today and winning the first game was decisive as it gave me confidence but also effected Beatriz a bit as she beat me easy in our previous meeting” said Konon “It is just a great feeling to be on court again and winning and helping my team to this victory”

Boyed by Konon’s success, Birgit Michels came to the court in an all too unfamiliar role, that of a singles player. After winning the opening game Michels stuttered in the second going down to the emerging talent of Clara Azurmendi. The experience of Michels came to the fore in the deciding set, and lest we forget the German was a top singles player in her junior days. The relief in team Germany was palatable when their captain took the third singles 21-18 leaving the Germans needing just one of the doubles to take control of two.

Birgit Michels: "No problems playing singles"

“I had no problem being asked to play singles as I have been practising anyway and play singles sometimes in the German Bundesliga” said Michels “It was a huge relief to win that match as I understood the importance of that point before I went on court.

There was still another twist in the tale as Marin came back on court to partner Corrales to a nail-biting three game win over Konon & Goliszewski piling the pressure on final pairing of Herttrich and Nelte. The now vastly experienced German duo duly delivered with a two game win to lift team Germany to top of group two with just Latvia and Iceland to play.

German men defiant after early Zwiebler hiccup

The biggest upset of the day came not in an overall match score line but in the individual defeat of the much travelled Marc Zwiebler to Slovenian number 1 Iztok Utrosa. The current European Champion was off the pace after returning from playing in the Indonesian league just two days ago and Utrosa seized his opportunity in three games.

A focus team Germany were quick to regroup and came home in convincing style with a 4-1 team victory and as for Zwiebler he can only improve and will benefit from the shake out after his long trip from Asia.

Bulgaria unleash the dream team

Much has been discussed about the gold medal prospects for Bulgaria’s women in this year’s event and this evening against The Netherlands they gave us the first taste of the ‘A’ line up with strength in depth from first to last.

Petya Nedelcheva got the ball rolling for the Bulgarians unchallenged by new Dutch national champion Gayle Mahulette. Linda Zetchiri followed up with another two game win over Alida Chen to give Bulgaria a 2-0 lead.

“We have a good atmosphere in the team this week and we know we have the team to go far in this tournament” said Zetchiri.

Having the current European junior champion in both doubles and third singles is a measure of the strength the Bulgarians have at their disposal and Stefani Stoeva was another easy winner in two games to give Bulgaria and unassailable 3-0 lead.

The only blip on the Bulgarian copybook came in the final match of the tie when the Stoeva sisters went down in two games to Piek and Muskens, but there is no shame in losing to a pair who have not lost a match in 5 months, won 5 consecutive titles and are inside the top 16 in the world as a result.

For all results from day 2 in Basel CLICK HERE

For full photo gallery CLICK HERE

To watch all the matches on demand from Badminton Europe’s YouTube channel CLICK HERE.

Tickets are still available at the main entrance of the St. Jakobshalle. For information please call the infomation desk +41 78 854 59 59 or +41 78 883 59 58.

Article by Mark Phelan (Live in Basel). Photo by BadmintonPhoto

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