Badminton Life

Bille Joy in Finland

There are some badminton tournaments where due to a low turnout in numbers, byes and player withdrawals that the finalists can reach the end of the tournament without having played too many games.

Some people believe that this devalues the merits of some competitions but this is not a complaint that can be levied against Martin Bille Larsen or Carl Baxter. In the very recent Finnish International Open, both players commenced their weekend by taking part in the qualification round which started on the Thursday. By the Sunday, the two had battled their way to the final to play each other and faced their eight match of the tournament each.

Badminton can be a very quick sport and although some games can be over quickly, even a routine victory can take a lot physically and mentally out of a player so to win 7 games before reaching a final in one event over a weekend is a feat to be applauded and the reception afforded to both players was a tribute to the fans who appreciated the sterling events of the players.

In times like this it would be good if both players could be properly awarded for their efforts but it was Billle Larsen who prevailed to clinch victory in the Mens Singles event. Bille Larsen quickly took a grip of the first set and roared into an early lead and although Baxter managed to claw back some of the deficit, Bille Larsen managed to hold on to claim the first set 21-18.

Given that he had been in fine form all weekend, Carl Baxter was in no mood to relinquish the final so easily and roared back in the second set, forcing the play and winning the points at vital times in the match. The margin of Baxters second set victory was by a score of 21-7, which emphasized his dominance and no doubt gave him great hope for the third and final set.

However, a Baxter triumph was not to be as Bille Larsen recovered from his second set mauling and eventually triumphed 21-19. The final set was an extremely close affair with no player getting a gap of more than a few points at any time but after wasting two Match Balls, Bille Larsen eventually smashed home his third opportunity and took the title.

The big winner over the weekend was Indonesian star Fran Kurniawan who managed to be victorious in both the Mens Doubles and the Mixed Doubles. Partnered by Wijaya Rendra and Shandy Puspa Irawati respectively, the Doubles expert showed his class and composure by triumphing in both events and following on from a victory in the recent Polish Open, indicates that Indonesia have a great current squad of badminton players. Both of the Indonesian victories at the Finnish International event were clinched in straight sets which underlined their quality of play throughout.

There was also joy for England's Elisabeth Cann who was the winner of the Womens Singles event whilst Lena Frier Kirstiansen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl took home the glory in the Womens Doubles event.

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