Parsons Lights up Leuven
A summer of hard work proved pivotal today as England’s Sam Parsons (main picture) came through a pair of marathon men’s singles matches to book a quarter final spot at the 2016 Yonex Belgian International.
The Englishman was involved in a real dog fight early in the day in a match that extended to almost 90 minutes on the Badminton Europe show court. Parsons opponent was Swede Mattias Borg and in hall temperatures that almost touched 30 degrees Celsius both men had to call on all their reserves of strength just to come through. Parsons held his nerve to beat Borg 24-22 in the deciding game and both men looked physically shattered immediately after.
“That was a very long match for sure but I am happy that the summers work seems to be paying off and the mental aspect which I needed to improve helped me through in the end”
Parsons had little time to rest on his laurels as waiting for him in the second round was the tall Indian Rahul Yadav Chittaboina. The Englishman lost the opening games 21-19 but came storming back to win in three in yet another physically draining hour long battle.
“It has been a very tough days’ work. Two extremely long matches in a very hot hall has me now extremely tired. Tomorrow is another day and I am sure I can count on my physical fitness to get me through as I worked so hard over the summer. The top half of the draw is opening up slightly so maybe there is an opportunity for someone to seize the opportunity”
Parsons next opponent will be against Erik Meijs after the Dutchman came through with relative ease to make the quarter finals. Elsewhere in the men’s singles draw second seed Raul Must was unable to shake off the post Rio blues falling at the first hurdle with Scotland’s Kieran Merrilees benefiting and looking fresh this new season.
Germany’s Fabian Roth continued from where he left of in qualification winning both his matches and the German was obviously delighted with his performance and return to circuit competition.
“It has been a really tough year away from badminton with my hip injury. It feels really great to be back and to be playing so well is just an added bonus"
Fladberg turns over new leaf
Denmark are looking dominant in the men’s doubles and with three pairs in the quarter final look to be heading towards a podium spot come Saturday evening. Former singles player Rasmus Fladberg had left his singles career behind him and with new partner Frederik Colberg looks to build his doubles career, a career that looked fruitful during his junior days alongside Kim Astrup.
Fladberg and Colberg (pictured above) came through a tough opening match against the Karunaratne brothers before booking their quarter finals berth with an win over German pair Geiss and Hess. A new venture for Fladberg who was upbeat about the decision after his performances today.
“I did all I could to be the best I could be in singles but it was always going to be a huge task for me to make the very top and that’s where I want to be. I know I am a good doubles player as I proved that before so now I am happy to be back playing doubles and working to get to the top”
There was Dutch joy all round today with the vast majority of the Dutch team performing to a very high standard. Maas and Tabeling took down third seeds Ruponen and Eidestedt in the men’s doubles while Iris Tabeling and new partner Cheryl Seinen made the quarter final in their first tournament together. Both Erik Meijs and Nick Fransman advanced to the men’s singles quarter final while Gayle Mahulette created a mini upset beating Mia Blichfeldt to book her quarter final spot.
While The Netherlands triumphed it was the end of the line for Belgian players in their home event. Lianne Tan went down in round one of the women’s singles to strong Japanese Moe Araki while top seeded men’s doubles pair Golinski and Dierickx came unstuck in their opening match losing out to Chinese Taipei pair Lu and Yang in two games. There was no joy either for Flore Vandenhoucke, Marijn Put or Maxime Moreels in the singles leaving the home nation void of a quarter finalist.
For all results from today’s main draw action at the 2016 Belgian International click HERE
Article an images by Mark Phelan (Live in Leuven)