The Glasgow crowds at last year’s Scottish Open Badminton Championships were left speaking Double Dutch after the exploits of the Netherlands’ finest at the Emirates Arena.
Dutch duos were victorious in each of the three doubles competitions, with Jelle Maas and Robin Tabeling taking the men’s, Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen claiming the women’s, and Piek returning with partner Jacco Arends for the mixed.
And, with all of them heading back to the Scottish capital to defend their titles at this year’s tournament, what better way to preview their respective tilts than by looking back to their successes of last year?
Maas and Tabeling seal spotless triumph
Riding an inspired wave of form throughout the tournament, Maas and Tabeling hadn’t dropped a game across their four matches heading into the final.
A 21-13 21-18 victory over English pair Ben Lane and Sean Vendy set up a crunch match against compatriots Arends – Maas’ former partner - and Ruben Jille in the final.
And while they made things look easy – with a 21-11, 21-15 win – Maas admitted that it was tough for the seventh seeds to come up against such familiar opponents.
“We know them, we practise every day together, so that’s always kind of tough – you never know what kind of match you’re getting, but we managed quite well,” he said.
And partner Tabeling added: “It’s kind of our power that is our strength and it worked well; we can create a lot of pressure.
“Even though they were our teammates, we put so much pressure on them that we could pull through in the end and make the points.”
Piek and Seinen battle to victory
Like their male counterparts, Piek and Seinen’s record heading into their final was unblemished, made more impressive by their two-game defeat of number one seeds Anastasia Chervyakova and her partner Olga Morozova in the semi-final.
But there was a stern test standing in their way of victory, with Russian pair Ekaterina Bolotova and Alina Davletova both in superb form.
The Dutch duo dropped the first game before coming back to seal the title in spectacular style with a 15-21 21-15 21-11.
And Piek was delighted with the win, made all the sweeter by their toil.
“It’s always good come out on top, especially after such a long game. I think we changed our tactics – we had the wrong tactics in the beginning,” she said.
“When we lost the first game we kept our head up, said that we were going to work a bit harder and see what happens. We somehow managed to turn things around and ended up on top.”
Piek seals the doubles-double
Soaring through their half of the draw with only a minor hiccup against Swedish duo Richard Eidestedt and Clara Nistad, Piek and Arends met teammates Maas and Imke van der Aar in the semi-finals.
Defeat in the first game, and it looked as though Maas would be the one to get the opportunity to play for a second title of the tournament but Piek and Arends turned things around to win in three.
Another tough test lay in wait in the final, however, in the form of fourth seeds Mikkel Mikkelsen and Mai Surrow, but the Dutch pair had weathered their toughest test in the semis as they strode to a 21-10, 21-10 win over the Danes, capping a remarkable tournament for Piek in particular.
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The Scottish Open Badminton Championships are being staged at the Emirates Arena by Badminton Scotland with support from Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.