Saturday, February 14, 2009

Denmark storm into European Team final

Denmark remain on course for their eighth successive European Team Championship title after a comfortable 3-0 win over sixth seeds Russia in the first semi-final at the Echo Arena in Liverpool this morning.

The Danes have now reached the European final 14 times in a row and look to record their 13th gold medal tomorrow when they will meet Team England or Poland.

Mixed doubles stars Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl set the tone for the session after a comfortable 21-13 21-16 win over Vitaly Durkin and Nina Vislova.

World Number 6 Joachim Persson then displayed why he is one of the world's top singles players with an excellent display of patience, agility and power to beat Ivan Sozonov 21-14 21-12 in the men's doubles.

This win for Persson showed he is back on form after his defeat to world number 103 Pablo Abian of Spain in the group stages. That defeat still stands as one of the upsets of the tournament.

It was then left to World No 1 Tine Rasmussen to wrap up the victory with a 21-18 21-7 win over a very resilient and gutsy opponent in Russia's Ella Diehl.

Rasmussen got off to a slow start and the first game could have gone either way, but Rasmussen showed why she is the worlds best at women's singles with a phenomenal second-game performance.

Coach Kenneth Jonassen would give no indication of the line-up for tomorrow's final, but with the clinical performance of his players in today's match, there is little reason for him to change much.

Denmark will play Team England or Poland in tomorrow's final, last year's runners-up hoping that home advantage will give them the edge as they aim to beat Poland and then overcome the Danes for the first time in these championships since 1984 in Preston.

Second semi-final (3pm): Team England v Poland.