Rodion Alimov and Alina Davletova continued their dominance over Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue, taking out the tournament favourites in the quarterfinals of the 2021 European Championships in Kyiv yesterday.
While French duo Gicquel/Delrue were second seeds and favourites for the title, the Russians had previously beaten them five times in six matches. Yet, their last match this year — in the semifinals of the European Mixed Team Championships — had gone the way of the French, and Gicquel/Delrue would have expected to ride on that momentum. That was not to be, as the sixth-seeded Russians stayed steady at the end of both games to clinch the match in straight games, 21-18 21-18.
The Russians next face third seeds Mark Lamsfuss/Isabel Herttrich, who cruised past Robin Tabeling/Selena Piek 21-8 21-12.
The top half will see Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith against Mathias Christiansen/Alexandra Boje.
Turkey’s Neslihan Yigit made the last four in women’s singles beating third seed Yvonne Li 21-16 21-16; she faces top seed Carolina Marin in the semifinals. The bottom half of the draw features Kirsty Gilmour against Line Christophersen.
Meanwhile, Finland’s Kalle Koljonen continued his dream run at the tournament. Following his victory over seventh seed Toma Junior Popov, Koljonen thwarted the ambitions of third seed Rasmus Gemke, coming from behind in the second game to take the match 21-15 21-19.
He faces a much harder challenge in the semifinals, against Viktor Axelsen. The other semifinal will be an all-Danish affair, with Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus taking on Anders Antonsen. Vittinghus fought past Mark Caljouw 21-19 17-21 21-15, while Antonsen brushed aside Brice Leverdez 21-12 21-13.
Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith also made the semifinals of their respective doubles. Ellis and Chris Langridge won the most exciting match of the day, saving three match points on the way to their 16-21 21-12 26-24 victory against Jones Ralfy Jansen/Peter Kaesbauer.