The group stages of the 2017 European mixed teams championships got under way today in Lubin, Poland and the hosts got the best possible start thanks to the efforts of the Wojtkowska sisters who won the pivotal women’s doubles to virtually assure Poland of a quarter final spot.
The Pole’s match against Spain was always going to be a match of two halves with the superior singles strength of the Spanish virtually guaranteeing early points. Pablo Abian and Olympic champion Carolina Marin duly delivered to give the Spanish an early 2-0 lead.
On paper the doubles disciplines was where the home nation were going to make inroads into the Spanish teams lead and Adam Cwalina and Pawel Pietrya got the Polish train rolling with a two set win against Penalver and Zapico.
The Poles were virtual shoe ins for the mixed doubles knowing Mateusiak and Zieba were anchoring the team as a result Spain knew they had to win the women’s doubles to make the knock out stages.
Clara Azurmendi and Beatriz Corrales stood between the Poles and the quarter finals and the Spanish looked good leading 19-16 in the opening game. The Polish siblings, buoyed by the home support. Never gave up and took the opening game with seven unanswered points to the disbelief of the Spanish pair.
Things got worse for the Spanish as they squandered three game points in the second game letting the Polish pair level up at 20-20 after leading 20-17. Two further game points slipped through the hands of the Spanish before the Wojtkowska sisters got the match over the line 24-22 to level the overall tie 2-2
Up step Mateusiak & Zieba and the vastly experienced Polish pair barely broke a sweat to win the vital third point for the home nation to all but guarantee a quarter finals spot for Poland.
German’s power to early group 3 lead
A youthful German team got their campaign off to a winning start taking control of group 3 with a 4-1 win over Switzerland. Lamsfuss & Herttrich (pictured above) got the Germans off to a winning start taking the mixed doubles before team captain Marc Zwiebler German juggernaut up to speed beating Mathias Bonny to give the Germans a 2-0 lead.
“We are a young team here with me being the old guy” said Zwiebler after his win. “I think the average age now is about 23 or 24 which is great for us going forward. It is almost a completely new team from the team two years ago but it is something I still love and enjoy even at 33 years of age”
Sabrina Jaquet did take a predicted point for the Swiss but the momentum was short lived with the German women’s and men’s doubles sealing the win for the Germans.
Elsewhere Sweden and England will battle it out for top spot in group 2 after both beat a stuttering Irish team who struggled to show any of the form that took them to 5th position two years ago. Denmark as expected got their campaign off to a winning start albeit with a mid-tie stutter by Line Kjaersfeldt who lost out to Mariya Mitsova in the women’s singles.
The Bulgarian’s also lost out to France in the very first match of the day meaning Denmark will face off against the French for group honours with the Bulgarians consigned to an early flight home.
To view all the results from today’s opening day at #EMTC17 click HERE
For a full Facebook photo galleries from all three sessions play on day 1 click HERE
Article by Mark Phelan. Photos by Ben Phelan for Badminton Europe