The first round of the Austrian International began this afternoon, after a morning of qualification to determine the final players entered into the main draw. The mixed doubles was the first on court, and it didn’t take long to lose one of the seeds, Claes and Descamps of Belgium (seeded 4). The remaining 7 seeds safely progressed into round 2. The Belgians had reason to celebrate soon after, with Lianne Tan taking out the 6th seeded Jeanine Cicognini of Switzerland in the opening round of the women’s singles. The other 7 seeds safely progressing into tomorrow’s second round.
The men’s singles was less than clear-cut, with two seeds falling in the opening round and several other seeds being taken the full distance. Anand Pawar survived a very tight match with Pavel Florian of the Czech Republic, winning the third game 26-24. For other seeds, their chances of progressing didn’t last until a 3rd game, with 4th seeded Christian Lind Thomsen crashing out to Petr Koukal of the Czech Republic 21-19, 21-11. At the same time, 7th seeded Dmytro Zavadsky crashed out to unseeded Scottish player Kieran Merrilees. The Scot winning 21-17, 15-21, 21-13 to progress into round 2.
The men’s doubles saw top seeded local pair of Koch and Zauner fall to unseeded Russian duo of Ashmarin and Ivanov. Tomorrow sees the compeititon topple in size, with an all-Russian affair in the women’s singles as Tatjana Bibik playing Anastasia Prokopenko who both won their singles in the European Team Final over Denmark.
Kieran Merrilees reward for beating 7th seeded Zavadsky is a match against Yuhan Tan of Belgium; as for Petr Koukal he plays Simon Maunoury of France.
The new EBU season begins once more in Antwerp with the Belgian International, with local interest in many of the events this week. For some, it will be their first competition of the season but for most of the seeds it will be a return to European soil after their World Championship excursion.
The Men’s singles is headed by England’s Carl Baxter, with Stephan Wojcikiewicz seeded 6th for the event also. Top seeded Baxter will play Austrian Michael Lahnsteiner in Round 1, with second seeded Marc Zweibler playing Rune Massing of Holland in the opening round.
The Women’s Singles has several players that progressed to the last 32 in the World Championships, led by top seed Ella Diehl from Russia. Diehl will play a qualifier in Round 1. Second seeded Yao Jie of Holland also progressed to the second round in India; she plays Croatian Andrea Zvorc in Round 1 in Belgium.
Third seed Larisa Griga lost to World Champion Lu Lan in Round 1 in India, she will play a qualifier in Round 1, Susan Egelstaff lost to Wang Yihan in Round 2 at the World Championships, and she starts her campaign in Belgium against Claudia Mayer of Austria.
Another one to watch in the ladies draw is 7th seeded Lianne Tan, winner of th Junior event in February and also reaching the last 32 of the World Championships at just 18 years old.
The big local hopes is in the Womens Doubles, with Steffi Annys and Severine Corvilain being seeded 1 for the event, They have a first round bye however the pair come into the event failing to win a match since the Polish Open in March.
Wouter Claes is seeded 3 for the Mens Doubles with Frederic Mawet and seeded 2 for the Mixed with Natalie Deschamps. He comes into the event after losing in both events in India in the opening round in 3 sets.
The Belgian International Open begins on Thursday, September 3.