England’s next generation of badminton talents continued their rapid development on the world stage with a busy week of matches at the YONEX Dutch Junior.
More than 20 contests in Haarlem featured English names as invaluable experience was gained against some of the best young players in the world, with positives to take forward into the future across all five disciplines.
Among those in action was Zach Russ, victorious in two men’s singles matches to reach the third round – with his first coming against compatriot James Penver.
That 21-15 21-13 victory gave the 17-year-old plenty of confidence heading into his next endeavour, this time facing a tough contest against Korea’s Tae Yang Shin.
But Russ pulled it out of the bag in a thoroughly entertaining match, bouncing back from a second game loss to hold out for a 21-16 17-21 21-15 victory in a clash lasting nearly an hour.
But the endeavour unfortunately took a lot out of the youngster, fighting hard but ultimately missing out against Chinese 16th seed Li Shifeng 21-10 21-9.
He was quickly back on court for doubles action alongside Rory Easton, though the English pair weren’t able to make the most of their eighth seed status as they went down 21-19 21-17 to Dai Enyi and Guo Xinwa.
Russ wasn’t the only men’s singles player to enjoy success as Ethan Rose powered to a tight win, beating Aaron Sonnenschein 21-19 21-19 before losing a three-game thriller later in the week.
And there was also a place in the second round for mixed doubles pair Harry Huang and Sian Kelly, pulling off one of the performances of the week.
That came with an upset of some of the home favourites, beating Dutch 13th seeds Gijs Duijs and Madouc Linders 21-10 20-22 21-17.
Ethan van Leeuwen and Annie Lado were also in mixed doubles action, as were Penver and Natasha Lado while David Hong, Molly Chapman, William Jones and Asmita Chaudhari also picked up some more tournament experience.
Chaudhari and Lado were in women’s doubles action too, this time as a pairing, joining Chapman and Freya Redfearn in unfortunate early exits.
Huang meanwhile, faced a tough tie against the men’s singles third seed Ikhsan Leonardo Imanuel Rumbay, joining Abbygael Harris, Kelly and Redfearn in flying solo on court in the Netherlands.
Photo: Badminton Photo