Although the result 3-0 sounds as a rather safe win, Denmark had to fight for every single point to overcome the Netherlands in the final of the 2009 European Junior Team Championships. The match was discontinued after Danish wins in the mixed doubles and in the two singles.
Before the final started, it was expected that the Danish team had a slight advantage in the two singles, and therefore the pressure on Jacco Arends and Selena Piek was massive going into the final’s first match – the mixed doubles. Here they were to face the strong Danish pair Anne Skelbaek/Mads Pedersen.
The Danes had the best start, and they never allowed their Dutch opponents to get into the first set. The Dutch combination had a much better start of the second set, and after a set where they pairs were extremely close all the way through, the Netherlands won the set after a couple of easy mistakes by Mads Pedersen.
Mads Pedersen and Anne Skelbaek then got back on track as the third started, and they seemed very confident on the opening win when they were leading 19-10. But a number of good services from Selena Piek changed the momentum in the match, and suddenly it started to get very interesting. The Danish pair only got their first match point when their opponents had reached 17 points. The Dutch got one step closer when they won the next point, but the match was over after the next rally.
Mads Pedersen and Anne Skelbaek celebrated the win as they had already won the whole team mathc, by running around the hall getting applauses from the enthusiastic Italian crowd. But of course they still needed two wins to secure the gold medals.
Emil Holst from Denmark and Jordy Hilbink from the Netherlands then entered the court to play in the men’s singles.
Jordy Hilbink played a really great first set, where he was leading all the way to 20-16. But then he made a few unforced errors, and after rescuing five game points from his opponent, Emil Holst could take the first set 25-23.
The second set became just as close. But this time it was Jordy Hilbink who came back into the game after having been behind with quite a margin. 16-10 down in the second set, he won six point in a row, and suddenly Holst could feel the pressure. The players went to 20-20 again, and here Emil Holst against showed he had the better nerves, as he took the set, and thereby the match, 22-20. The Netherlands now had to win the remaining matches to clinch the gold.
Anne Hald from Denmark has so far in the tournament showed impressive strength, and therefore she was considered as the favourite in the women’s singles against Netherland’s Yik Man Wong. Anne Hald was also the one who got the best start, and therefore she could take the first set 21-15.
In the second set, Yik Man Wong got better into the game. Many long rallies were played, but it was Anne Hald who first reached 20 points. Yik Man Wong had reached at that time, but after winning three points in a row, she suddenly had her first game point.
But then the match turned once again, as at it was now Anne Hald’s turn to win three point in a row, she could receive the celebrations of her team mates, as she had won the decisive third win of the final, and thereby given her team and her country a gold medal.
Denmark was given the gold medals and presented the prestigious winning trophy by Badminton Europe’s President Tom Bacher, and the Confederation’s newly elected Vice-President, Alberto Miglietta who is also the President of the hosting federation.
Germany and England were both presented with the bronze medals for reaching the semi finals. All the results from the team event at the 2009 European Junior Championships can be seen here
The individual events will start Tuesday afternoon, and much good badminton will now be played until reaching the finals on Sunday. The draws and the schedule for the individual tournament can be seen here