Photo credit: Jacob Christensen
First time badminton was at the Olympic program was at the Barcelona Olympics 1992. New generations have taken over the badminton world since then and today some of them participate in Spain Masters, which takes place in the Olympic city.
Spain Masters is a HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300 tournament and it is first time it comes to Barcelona. The total prize money is USD 150,000 with a little more than USD 11,000 for the winners in each category. Spain Masters is held in the former Olympic arena, Vall d’Hebron Olympic Sports Centre in the northern part of the city.
Sadly the tournament has been hit by many withdrawals in the last moment – including one from their own Carolina Marín and Denmark’s Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen – but that shall not prevent the Spaniards from hosting a great tournament. The women’s double World Champions from Japan are still there and so are two of Thailand’s best women’s singles.
We take a short look at the five categories here before the matches begin.
All seeded players are showing up for the tournament – no withdrawals here. Suppanyu Avihingsanon from Thailand is top seeded and Rasmus Gemke, Denmark, is second seeded. Expected opponents in the semifinals are Jan Ø. Jørgensen, Denmark, seeded 4, and Mark Caljouw, Netherlands, seeded 3.
Spain has two players in the main round of men’s single, Pablo Abian and Luís Enrique Peñalver who has been promoted from the qualification. Peñalver will have a tough first round against Raul Must, Estonia.
There are 16 players in the qualification battling for four spots in the main round.
Sara Peñalver Pereira from Spain has replaced Carolina Marín in the top of the draw after the Spanish World Champions unfortunately had to withdraw due to sickness. Marín is the only seeded player who is not in Barcelona.
Japan’s Sayaka Takahashi is second seeded but has to overcome a few strong names if she has to make it into the final. Pornpawee Chochuwong from Thailand, seeded 4, and Kirsty Gilmour from Scotland, seeded 6, are drawn in the same half as the Japanese.
In the top half of the draw Denmark’s Mia Blichfeldt and Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan are the ones to keep an eye on. They are seeded 3 and 5 respectively.
There are 8 players in the qualification battling for four spots in the main round.
No less than seven withdrawals have hit the men’s double category, including top seeded Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen from Denmark, second seeded Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, also Denmark, and Russia’s strong duo Vladimir Ivanov and Ivan Sozonov. The withdrawals give two pairs a free walk into the quarterfinals of Spain Masters as they both start with two walkovers now.
Highest seeded pair in the draw now is Germany’s Jones Ralfy Jansen and Josche Zurwonne who are seeded 4, but we recommend to keep a close eye on one of the unseeded pairs as well. Legend Lee Yong Dae from Korea who recently made his comeback to the badminton circuit partners up with Kim Gi Jung in Barcelona. If everything goes well for the Korean double they will most likely face the 4th seeded Germans in the semifinal.
Spain has two pairs in men’s double; Bernat Amaya/Marc Gallardo and Arnau Duran/Guillem Arnau. There is no qualification in any of the double categories.
Here there is going to be value for money as the women’s double World Champions from Japan are present. Mayu Matsumoto and Wakana Nagahara are obviously top seeded and play a pair from Italy in second round due to a bye in first round for both pairs.
If all pairs would live up to their seeding, the opponents in the final will also be Japanese; the second seeded are Ayako Sakuramoto and Yukiko Takahata. There will of course be other pairs chasing the final as well, including Maiken Fruergaard and Sara Thygesen from Denmark who are seeded 3, and Selena Piek and Cheryl Seinen from the Netherlands, seeded 4.
Host nation Spain is not represented in women’s double.
In the last of the five categories we have an English pair as top seeded. Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith top the draw as seeded to meet a Dutch pair in the final, Jacco Arends and Selena Piek. The Brits could face an interesting first match though if Joachim Fischer Nielsen and Alexandra Bøje from Denmark overcome their first match. Then they will face the Brits who have a bye into second round.
Russians Evgenij Dremin/Evgenia Dimova and Danes Niclas Nøhr/Sara Thygesen are expected to be the toughest opponents for the remaining of the draw as they are seeded 3 and 4 respectively.
Spain has two pairs in the mixed double competition. Bernat Amaya/Lara Lucas and Alberto Zapico/Lorena Usle.
(Matches begin at 12:00 PM Spanish time)