Spanish singles dominate end of season circuit rankings
The end of May marked the traditional end to the Badminton Europe Circuit season with a total of 33 International tournaments taking place all across the continent from Finland to Italy and Iceland to Israel. In a fitting conclusion to the season, at the Spanish International in Madrid, Spanish singles duo Pablo Abian and Beatriz Corrales were crowned king and queen of the circuit courts for the 2013/14 season.
Defiant Abian lets his racket do the talking
In what proved to be a turbulent off court year for Spain’s top male singles player, Pablo Abian proved to his doubters that there is still life left in the old dog as he crowned of a memorable on court season as Europe’s most consistent men’s singles shuttler. Abian’s 2013/14 record tells the tale of an impressive season with wins in Wales and France but even more remarkable is the fact that the Spaniard only once failed to make a quarter final all season adding 5 semi-final spots to his victories to claim top spot in the rankings.
Danish young guns Emil Holst and Rasmus Fladberg were the closest challengers to Abian all season with Finland’s every present and effervescent Ville Lang splitting the Danes in the rankings at number three.
Queen Corrales a cut above
Beatriz Corrales did something this season that most athletes, no matter what the sport, find hard to do. The Spaniard matched her career defining 2012/13 season successes but taking the top spot in the circuit rankings proving her winning streak the previous year was no fluke.
While the Spaniard had fewer outright wins than she did in 2012/13 what is sure to please Corrales is her level of consistency over the course of the season with two runners up spots and two quarter finals sitting handsomely alongside her victories at the French and Bulgarian Internationals. 1013 European Junior Champion Stefani Stoeva pushed Corrales all the way in the fight for top spot in a remarkable year for the Bulgarian who never failed to make anything less than a quarter final.
European silver medallist, Anna Thea Madsen finished fifth in the standings just ahead of compatriot Line Kjærsfeldt with Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour rounding out the top ten albeit with only five circuit events played.
Not enough tournaments in the year for prolific Poles.
Those who know Adam Cwalina and Przemyslaw Wacha know that their kicks are got from playing in, competing at and winning tournaments. With 11 events under their belts for 2013/14 season the Poles were by a long way the best and most prolific winners on tour this past season.
Their record is staggering and almost make you blink when reading it. 11 events played and top step of the podium achieved on 8 of those occasions. The only real blot on the Poles copybook coming at the Belgian International in September where the fell at last 16 and that defeat was in three close games to eventual runners up Mills & Langridge of England.
A five in a row streak which started at the Carlton Irish Open and ending at their last circuit tournament of the season, the French International, is likely to be a record that will stand for many years to come.
Stoeva sister’s consistency key to their success
Both Stefani and Gabriela Stoeva started off 2013 in perfect fashion by winning both the European Junior singles and doubles in Ankara Turkey. The Bulgarians are one of Europe’s most active pairs travelling all over Europe to events week in week out and wins at Bulgarian, Turkey and Austrian Internationals was just dessert for the sisters commitment to their sport. Add to the mix the consistency of never failing to reach at least a semi-final sets the Bulgarians apart as the class women’s doubles act on the circuit this past season.
Even with pairs such as Bankier/Nedelcheva and Piek/Muskens breathing down their necks the Bulgarian Sisters came out on top as circuit winners and by some considerable margin.
Scots take honours in a photo finish
Scotland’s Imogen Bankier and Robert Blair spent most of the season chasing Commonwealth Games qualification which proved to be a huge boost to the Badminton Europe circuit. For much of the season badminton fans were served up a feast of world class mixed doubles whereby Blair and Bankier were for most parts the conductors of the orchestra.
Four wins from six events is a phenomenal record by any standard and it took that level of performance to edge out French duo Careme and Tran into second in the rankings. The French who were consistent quarter and semi-finalists will probably look back at their lack of an outright circuit win as a contributing factor to their second place in the rankings.
For a full list of the end of year circuit rankings CLICK HERE
Article by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe. Photos by BadmintonPhoto.