No big ‘Diehl’ for Ella
The 2015 French International kicked off today in Orleans with a hotly contested singles qualification. Russia’s Ella Diehl (pictured) proved that longevity is possible in badminton after coming through two rounds to book her main draw spot playing some inspired badminton as she continues to roll back the years.
The former Russian number 1 and 2010 European bronze medallists blasted her way past local French player Heloise Le Moulec in two games before calling on all her years of experience to see off the challenge of Indonesian Rosy Pancasari in two games 21-15 23-21. Diehl now moves forward to an all-Russian first round against Elena Komendrovskaja where she will be keen to prove that there is still plenty of life let in her legs
Olga Konon, the German national champion, continued her good form on her road back to the top after a long layoff due to injury. Konon beat French darling Marie Batomene in two easy games and the German will sure to figure at the business end of the tournament after expending as little energy as possible in qualification.
Konon will face a tough challenge in the first round proper tomorrow as she squares up against improving Canadian Rachael Honderich in a match that will tell a lot about the form of the German national champion.
Like Diehl & Konon, Natalia Koch Rhode is punching well below her weight in qualification and the Dane to looked comfortable 21-8 21-9 against local opposition. Rhode will certainly be a challenge for the best the main draw has to offer and with only one game in qualification will be fresh for the challenge tomorrow.
Merrilees brings NBL form to Orleans
Scotland’s Kieren Merrilees continued his winning ways after Monday night’s NBL victory by easing through qualification in Orleans today. The Scot did not drop a set in his three qualification matches and moves into the main draw where his luck continued after the withdrawal of 2nd seed Henri Hurskainen.
Veteran Ukrainian shuttler Valeri Atrashchenkov came through a marathon days play after looking dead and buried against Bulgaria’s Stilian Makarski in the final qualification match trailing 19-16 & again at match point 20-18. A spirited fightback by the Ukrainian drew a loud celebration as he took the match 24-22 to the Bulgarians disbelief.
England’s Rhys Walker was the only English singles player to come through qualification after Alex Lane fell at the last hurdle late in the evening. Walker came through three marathon matches which included two three set battles before seeing off the challenge of Frenchman Marin Baumann in one of the final matches of the day. Walker now slots into the bottom half of the main draw and will face off against Dutchman Erik Meijs in round 1 proper.
For all results from Orleans click HERE
For a full picture gallery from today’s play follow Badminton Europe in Facebook by clicking HERE.
You can catch all the court 1 LIVE action from Orleans tomorrow from 14.00 CET on our YouTube channel by clicking HERE.
Article an Images by Mark Phelan (Live in Orleans)