by Simon Daish
Following a successful run in the group stage Denmark was paired with Portugal `A’ in the Round of 16, and despite being the lower seeded of the two teams it was the Danish lineup which prevailed in Metz.
Mikkel Emborg and Daniel Simonson featured for Denmark with Portugal `A’ fielding Tiago Li and Jose Magalhaes for the match, and the battle for a place in the last eight turned out to be a fantastic encounter as both teams played out a thrilling tie.
Portugal `A’ made the perfect start to the match with Tiago Li beating Mikkel Emborg across four games (6-11, 11-5, 5-11, 9-11), and Jose Magalhaes extended the team’s advantage with his terrific recovery effort seeing off Daniel Simonson (11-7, 11-4, 12-14, 9-11, 5-11).
However, Denmark weren’t out of the tie and a remarkable comeback was yet to come. Emborg and Simonson partnered up to overcome Li and Magalhaes in straight games (11-7, 11-8, 11-9), before fifth end victories for Emborg and Simonson over Magalhaes (10-12, 11-1, 8-11, 11-8, 11-2) and Li (11-7, 11-9, 5-11, 2-11, 11-9) respectively sent the Danes through to the next round.
“Before the match, I knew that we had a chance to win. I played well in my first match against Jose Magalhaes… I won the first two games but I lost the others. We were 2-0 down before the doubles but I knew that we could win one match each and the doubles…”, Daniel Simonsen.
There were also positive results in the last 16 for Belgium, Czech Republic and France `B’ and they will join Denmark in the quarter-finals alongside France `A’, Hong Kong `A’, Poland `A’ and Hungary.
The third day of the 2017 French Junior and Cadet Open also hosted the group stage for the Cadet Girls’ Team event, as eight squads booked their places in the main draw.
Group D was won by the mixed nationality team consisting of Tunisia’s Fadwa Garci and India’s Diya Parag Chitale after their victories over France `C’ and the pairing of Canada’s Zhou Benita and Alessandra Cisneros of Peru proved enough to take the group. Fourth seeds Turkey `A’ also scraped through to the last eight as group runners up.
Elsewhere, there were very few problems for the top two seeded teams competing in the category as Japan `A’ and Hong Kong `A’ sailed through the group stage with ease, as Hong Kong `B’ and France `B’ claimed second position in the respective groups.
Yet, there was one standout elimination in the group stage as the seventh highest ranked team formed of Jana Terezkova of the Slovak Republic and Belgium’s Estelle Duvivier finished behind France `A’ and Singapore in Group C.