Labar & Fontaine reach first final
It was moving day today at the 2016 Yonex Belgian International with both the quarter and semi-finals being played. New French pairing Ronan Labar and Audrey Fontaine took to the Belgian courts like ducks to water to make their first final as a pair in only their second outing.
Both Fontaine and Labar (main picture), who formed a new partnership after the Rio dream ended earlier in the year with their previous partners, have put a very hard summers training in which has clearly paid off this week in Belgium.
The French came through the mornings quarter final beating Robin Tabeling and Cheryl Seinen in three games. Indeed, the French have been pushed to three games in every round and Labar and Fontaine maintained that statistic in this evenings semi-final beating Jelle Maas and Imke Van Der Aar again in three games.
“It has been a good summer of training and today once we figured the Dutch pair out we felt in control and of course are happy to be in our first final together” said the experienced Labar after the semi-final win.
Watch Labar & Fontaine’s post match semi final interview HERE
The French will now play young Danish pair Ditte Soby Hansen and Alexander Bond after the Danes came through easy winners against compatriots Gabriella Boje and Nicklas Mathiasen.
Dahl aims high with sights now set on full time badminton
It was just about a year ago when we first noticed Sofie Holmboe Dahl (pictured above) on the Badminton Europe circuit. At that time the Dane was mixing sport with school and still somehow managed to win a circuit event in Norway while breaking into the world’s top 100 in the same season.
This week, and now fully focused on badminton after finishing school, the Dane has looked unstoppable and in today’s semi-final ended the run of qualifier Iben Bergstein in two games to make her first International Challenge rated final.
“It is a real good feeling to be in the final. I knew when I got to match point that the match was mine and I could not hold back the smile in that last rally. I will be underdog tomorrow but I look forward now to playing and hopefully I can cause an upset”
Dahl will play Soniia Cheah in tomorrow’s final after the Malaysian beat Japanese Moe Araki in two games.
Watch Dahl’s post match interview HERE
The men’s singles semi-final saw the end of the impressive runs of both Sam Parsons and Fabian Roth. Parsons went down to Lucas Corvee of France in two games after some gruelling matches throughout the tournament while Roth lacked the power to trouble India’s Souabh Varma, with the Indian also victorious in two games.
In the women’s doubles there was an easy path to the final for new English pair Lauren Smith and Chloe Birch. The English were leading in the opening game of the semi-final before their Japanese opponents were forced to retire due to injury. The English will now play Danish pair Julie Finn-Ipsen and Rikke Soby Hansen after the Danes beat German duo Hannah Pohl and Lisa Kaminski in the second semi-final.
New Danish duo of Fladberg and Colberg defied all the odds and the horror of the qualification draw to book their final berth in their first outing as a pair since Fladberg hung up his singles racket. The Danes will face Chinese Taipei pair Lu and Yang in tomorrow’s final, the loud Asians beat Antonsen and Sogaard in the final match on semi-finals day.
For all results from today’s quarter final and semi-final action in Leuven click HERE
TO revisit all the action on demand from all courts via our YouTube channel click HERE
Article and Images by Mark Phelan (Live in Leuven)