Scotland shocked Germany to top Group 3 in the 2015 European Mixed Team Championships at Leuven, Belgium, yesterday.
On a day of unusual results, France eased past Russia, while Denmark were pushed to the edge by Netherlands.
Germany, without the services of Men’s Singles ace Marc Zwiebler, were dealt a blow by Scotland. The Scots won the opening salvo through Kirsty Gilmour (below) in Women’s Singles as she outgunned Karin Schnaase 21-15 21-15.
The next match (Men’s Singles), between Kieran Merrilees (BWF home page) of Scotland and Dieter Domke, was a topsy-turvy affair. Merrilees had almost wrapped it up at 17-12 in the third, but Domke picked eight points in a row and had three match points. Merrilees refused to buckle and turned it around for a memorable win: 23-21 13-21 22-20.
Gilmour returned to court for her Women’s Doubles with Imogen Bankier, against No.28 pair Carla Nelte and Johanna Goliszewski. The Germans endured a tricky phase in the second game to prevail 21-17 22-20.
With Josche Zurwonne/Max Schwenger overpowering Martin Campbell/Paul Van Rietvelde 21-5 21-17 to clinch the Men’s Doubles, Germany regained the momentum and appeared favourites to clinch the tie as No.10 pair Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels took on No.18 pair Robert Blair/Imogen Bankier. However, the Scots gained an early lead in the third and kept it all the way to seal the tie 12-21 21-12 21-18.
In Group 4, France enjoyed a surprisingly smooth verdict over Russia. The French wrapped up the tie winning the first three matches before Russia restored their pride in the next two.
Ronan Labar/Emilie Lefel (below) struck first for France in Mixed Doubles, over Vitalij Durkin/Nina Vislova 16-21 21-16 21-11. Brice Leverdez (Men’s Singles) made it 2-0 beating Vladimir Malkov, before Sashina Vignes Waran held off the challenge of Ksenia Polikarpova 21-19 21-19. Russia won the next two matches through Vladimir Ivanov/Ivan Sozonov (Men’s Doubles) and Ekaterina Bolotova/Evgeniya Kosetskaya (Women’s Doubles).
Title favourites Denmark survived a scare against Netherlands. With Jan O Jorgensen (Men’s Singles) and Line Kjaersfeldt (Women’s Singles) giving them a 2-0 lead, Denmark looked set for a comfortable triumph.
However, Dutch Men’s Doubles duo Jacco Arends/Jelle Maas stormed past Anders Skaarup Rasmussen/Kim Astrup Sorensen 21-15 21-15. It became 2-2 when Selena Piek (above)/Eefje Muskens outclassed Anna Thea Madsen/Sara Thygesen 21-9 21-17.
However, the reliable Mixed Doubles duo of Joachim Fischer Nielsen/Christinna Pedersen prevented further damage for the Danes. Nielsen/Pedersen were too good for Jorrit De Ruiter/Samantha Barning, 21-10 21-14.
England had a flawless day, beating Ireland and Belgium by identical 5-0 margins in Group 2. Earlier in the day, Denmark too had it easy over Poland, clinching the tie 5-0.
The quarter-final draw consists of: Russia vs Scotland; Netherlands vs England; Denmark vs Ireland and France vs Germany.
For the day’s results, click here.
Text by Dev Sukumar | Badmintonphoto