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Olympic stars battle through to quarter-finals
Olympic class shone through on the first day of the main draw of the Nestea European Championship Tour English Masters at St Chad’s Head, Blackpool today (Friday).
The first day of the main draw of the competition, hosted by VisitBlackpool and the Northwest Development Agency, saw places in tomorrow’s quarter-final at stake.
A victory in the opening game saw teams progress straight through to tomorrow’s quarters, with losing teams still able to reach the quarters, but only by winning several more games in the ‘losers’ draw’.
The Greek pair of Efthalia Koutroumanidou and Maria Tsiartsiani avenged their defeat to Germany’s Sara Goller and Laura Ludwig at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, beating them 19-21, 21-14, 16-14 in one of the contests of the day.
They now meet the Finnish sisters Emelia and Erika Nystrom in the quarter-finals tomorrow (Saturday) on the penultimate day of the competition. That game gets underway at 9am.
After beating the German pair Tsiartsiani said: “They’re a very good team and it’s always tough against them. They beat us at the Olympics, but we were better today.
“When it’s 16-14 in the last set you need a lot of luck,” she added. “We’re excited now, we hope we can go on win.”
The other quarter-final in the ‘winners’ draw’ sees another Greek pair, Vassiliki Arvanity and Vassiliki Karadassiou, ranked two in the tournament, face the Latvians Inese Jursone and Inguna Minusa, ranked sixth.
Neither of the British women’s pairs made it through to the quarter-finals, despite putting up some brave performances. Lucy Boulton and Zara Dampney’s challenge ended with a 21-17, 21-17 defeat to Kristyna Kolocova and Marketa Slukova (CZE). The Brits had earlier produced a battling performance before going down 21-16, 21-17 to Goller and Ludwig.
Denise Johns and Shauna Mullin battled back from a set down to beat the fourth ranked team of Rebekka de Koegel-Kadijk and Merel Mooren from the Netherlands 18-21, 21-17, 16-14 to put them one win away from the quarter-finals.
They faced the German team of Geeske Banck and Anja Guenther on the show court this evening. Johns and Mullin produced a strong performance to win the opening set 15-21, but then lost the next two 21-13 and 15-8. The Germans now face Kolocova and Slucova (CZE) in the quarters.
Goller and Ludwig, the reigning European champions, worked their way through the losers’ draw and will play the young Dutch pair of Danielle Remmers and Michelle Stiekema – who have progressed all the way from the country quota contest - in tomorrow’s quarter-finals.
14. March 207
photo Cheltenham jockey club
14. March 238
photo Cheltenham Racecourse