Leuven: Denmark and England both earned hard-fought victories on Saturday as they defeated Germany and Russia 3-2 respectively in the European mixed team championships semi-finals, in Leuven, Belgium.
Denmark who won nine consecutive European championships (from 1996 to 2011), before upset by Germany in the previous edition, got off to a good start on Saturday when mixed doubles pair Christinna Pedersen/Joachim Fischer Nielsen knocked off Max Schwenger/Carla Nelte of Germany 21-17, 21-17 in 41 minutes. When Germany decided to not play Marc Zwiebler in the men’s singles match, the 2014 the BWF World Championships bronze medalist – Viktor Axelsen took full advantage of this to put Denmark ahead with 2-0 by defeating Dieter Domke 21-15,21-12 in 31 minutes.
However, the Germany shuttlers were not ready to concede without a fight. Germany’s women’s singles Karin Schnaase turned the table on Denmark when she picked up a 21-18,11-21,21-14 victory against Anna Thea Madsen in a 3-set thriller; before Michael Fuchs/Max Schwenger levelled the score at 2-2 after their win in men’s doubles.
Nonetheless, Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl took a super heroic effort to put Denmark back in the European mixed team championships final by winning the women’s doubles 21-15,21-9 over Carla Nelte/Johanna Goliszewski in 33 minutes.
Meanwhile, England also reached the European mixed team championships final in thrilling fashion on Saturday night after holding off Russia in another semi-finals.
England, the second seeds, secured their first final berth since 2009 of the biennial event with a nervy 3-2 rubber win over the Russians, who were bidding to reach the final for the first time.