Danish Kings and Queens crowned in Sofia
Denmark qualified for both the Thomas Cup and Uber Cup Finals today after quite unexpected opposition in their final hurdles. The Swedish girls also gained their ticket to Malaysia beating England in a very close tie. It took more time than expected for the Danes to win their tie against the Netherlands in the Uber Cup. Even if the pressure was off because both teams had already won their tickets to Kuala Lumpur, all players gave their best. Camilla Martin led the way with a victory over 16th ranked Judith Meulendijks with hidden shots which left her opponent many times far away from the shuttle. Rikke Olsen and Helene Kirkegaard made it 2/0 for Denmark after a 15/11 - 15/10 win over Van Hooren/Jonathans. Things looked pretty good then with a third point in the hands of Mette Sorensen, much better ranked than her opponent Brenda Beenhakker. But the very good week of the latter proved the odds were wrong. After a tight first game lost in overtime, Sorensen seemed to have lost her motivation and hardly fought in the second game, leaving Denmark's destiny into the hands of Ann Jorgensen and partner Majken Vange. "We didn't expect to play the fourth match and Mette lost the second game so quickly that we had little time to warm up." said Jorgensen. This might explain Danish pair's very bad start. Led 10/15 and 3/8, the Danes got back into the match little by little and were able to give their team the winning point. "We are just beginning to play again together after I was injured for two months, and we are very happy to have won this match. Now, we're looking for some good matches in Kuala Lumpur. The Chinese look rather unreachable, but we'll try our best to become number two in the world." said Jorgensen. IEngland's girls will stay home next May. If Julia Mann had won one of her 7 match points against Marina Andrievskaya, things might have been quite different but sometimes badminton rests on one point. Sweden's choice of placing the former Russian in first singles paid off as she beat Mann in a breathtaking match 8/11, 11/9, 13/12. After Swede Eriksson's win in the second singles and victories by both English pairs, it all depended on Joanna Holgersson and Tracy Hallam for a fifth deciding match. No suspense this time as the Swede outplayed Hallam in a 11/4, 11/5 win. In one of Thomas Cup qualifying matches, a racquet flew high from court 3 to the very top of the Winter Palace. But this UFO was easily identified: it was Rikard Magnusson's racquet, which he threw after his very unexpected win over Kenneth Jonassen. The Swede ranked 128th in the world played way above his ranking to beat the Dane who had had quite a bad week. This win was even more surprising as it came right after Rasmus Wengberg's win over Andreas Boesen, giving the lead 2/1 for Sweden (Peter Gade won easily his first single). But Denmark's strong doubles tradition made the difference in the last two games. Paaske/Lundgaard and Eriksen/Larsen gave the winning points rather easily. A little earlier in the day, England expectedly beat Germany 3/0 in the third and qualifying match for the final stage in May. Peter Knowles had problems to get rid of Oliver Pongratz, who was back in form after his win over Johansson the previous day. The German pair then didn't disappoint in their match against Archer/Robertson, with some extraordinary shots from Joachim Tescher played from the ground. But that wasn't good enough to beat the number 5th ranked pair. England leading 2/0, it was then Colin Haughton's task to make it three, which he did with the manner. The 33rd ranked English determined as ever (pictured) won 15/10, 15/13 on his fifth match point against European Junior Champion Bjorn Joppien. "We knew this was going to be tough, but we had confidence in the team. We had a great week with a good attitude from all players, and now we are looking for the trip to Malaysia to try to make it in the top 6 teams in the world " said Simon Archer.