by Simon Daish
The mixed nationality pairing of Patrick Franziska and Jonathan Groth of Germany and Denmark respectively has been proven to be a very useful combination in the Men’s Doubles game in recent months, having secured a gold medal at the Liebherr 2016 European Championships in Budapest. Now the Doubles team are looking good for the crown at the 2016 Austrian Open in Linz following their semi-finals victory on the fourth day of the event.
Franziska and Groth were competing in the bottom half of the draw and so they faced a semi-finals encounter with Chinese Taipei’s Chen Chien-An and Chiang Hung-Chieh, which turned out to be a fascinating battle between two very well drilled lineups.
While Franziska and Groth made a positive start to the tie, the match very quickly turned on its head as Chen and Chiang won the second and third games back-to-back to establish a 1-2 lead.
The European Men’s Doubles champions were in trouble and had to find a new level in their play to try and pull themselves back into the match, and rather astonishingly Franziska and Groth managed to push their way through the following two games to claim a 3-2 result in their favour (11-7, 7-11, 6-11, 11-2, 11-4).
Franziska and Groth will take on Fang Yinchi and Zhu Cheng for the trophy, after the Chinese duo defeated Austria’s Chen Weixing and Germany’s Ruwen Filus (11-9, 5-11, 11-3, 11-7).
Japanese fans will be rejoicing heading into the final day of the Open in Linz, after two of the country’s Women’s Doubles partnerships booked their places in the final: Hina Hayata and Miyu Kato, and Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato.
Hayata and Kato won their tie against Hong Kong’s Doo Hoi Kem and Lee Ho Ching in straight games, but the match was a closer fixture than you may think considering the 3-0 end score.
Neither pairing were separable after the first 20 points of games one and two and so the small matter of deuce was required to decide who would put the games on the scoreboard, and on both occasions it was Hayata and Kato who snatched the games to move into a commanding position in the tie.
Losing two ends in deuce can shatter the confidence of even the greatest of players, and unfortunately for Doo and Lee they were not able to raise their play enough to fight back which resulted in Hayata and Kato taking the third end to progress to the final (12-10, 13-11, 11-6). The dream of an all-Japanese final was confirmed with Honoka Hashimoto and Hitomi Sato’s successful 3-1 outcome against Russia’s Maria Dolgikh and Polina Mikhailova (11-7, 7-11, 11-7, 11-7) in the other penultimate round meeting.
Saturday 12th November: Men’s Doubles – Main Draw
Saturday 12th November: Women’s Doubles – Main Draw