Return of Bayrak & Yigit
The final circuit tournament of 2016 gets under way in Istanbul this coming week with a barrage of local based players looking to sweep up some world ranking points to end the year with a bang. Amongst the entries there is a return to competition for both Neslihan Yigit and Ozge Bayrak who occupy the top seeded positions in the women’s singles and women’s doubles draw.
Yigit has been notable by her absence since losing out on Olympic qualification to Bayrak. The last we say of the tall Turk was at the White Nights back at the beginning of the summer where she incidentally won the tournament.
Bayrak’s last outing was in Rio which seems like a very distant memory now and both will be keen to show there is still plenty of fuel in the tank as they aim to lift their home title.
Both Yigit & Bayrak will enjoy gentle introductions into the singles event with Hungary’s Agnes Korosi likely to give Bayrak her first real test at quarter final stage. In the top half Cemre Fere will most likely have the power to come through to a meeting with Yigit at the quarter final stages.
Nestled in the bottom half of the draw is Spain’s Clara Azurmendi who was runner up in Italy just a few short days ago and on paper and on form will be the favourite this week in Istanbul.
The old partnership of Yigit & Bayrak will also be favourites for the women’s doubles but it will be interesting to see can any of the new Turkish kids on the block dethrone the queens of Turkish badminton. Ercetin and Inci, the European U17 women’s doubles silver medallist, are in the same side of the draw as their more experienced compatriots while Fere & Kilic will cause some problems to the fancied pairs in the bottom half of the draw.
Bolotova and team Russia likely to feature
While the draws are awash with local Turkish players, team Russia have sent some experience to Istanbul with Ekaterina Bolotova (pictured above) leading the lines. Bolotova will be hotly tipped to lift the mixed doubles alongside Rodian Karkaev and the Russian will also bring the fight to the Turks in women’s doubles partnering Alina Davletova.
Anastasia Semenova will also feature for Russia but has the toughest of all draws in the women’s singles with a first round meeting against Azurmendi.
All the action kicks off in Istanbul on Monday and to view all draws for the 2016 Turkish International click HERE
Article and archive images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe