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Mixed doubles pair conjures Danish delight

Kamila Rytter Juhl stands a centimeter taller than her partner and, unlike other girls in mixed doubles combinations, does not mind playing an attacking role from the baseline, reports Abhijeet Kulkarni.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2009 22:42 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni

Kamila Rytter Juhl stands a centimeter taller than her partner and, unlike other girls in mixed doubles combinations, does not mind playing an attacking role from the baseline.

While Juhl pounds her left-handed smashes, Thomas Laybourn is happy manning the net and loses no opportunity to kill any weak return from the opponents.

The unusual combination wrote its name in the history books on Sunday when it became the first Danish pair in 14 years to win a mixed doubles title in the World Badminton Championship.

The seventh seeds upset second seeds and defending champions Nova Widianto and Liliyana Natsir 21-13, 21-17 in just 38 minutes.

In fact, Juhl and Laybourn were the only Europeans to make it to the summit clash in this edition of the event, dominated by Asians, especially Chinese.

“We won the Super Series masters in December last year and have had some big wins before but nothing can be bigger than winning the World title,” said an elated Laybourn after the match.

The combination came together in 2004 and took everyone by surprise when it reached the final of the All England Championship in 2005 and won the Danish open the same year.

Juhl admits that their opponents used to get confused by her playing from the baseline and they had been using it to their advantage. “But now we have been playing on the circuit for quite some time and they all know our game now.”

So why does she prefer to play from the back was the obvious question and Juhl said it was mostly because she never used to play at the net in women's doubles.

“Also, Thomas is better than me on the net, so why not have the best player playing there,” said the 26-year-old, who loves to cook and play golf in her leisure time.

Speaking about their title-winning run, Laybourn said it was great to win the crown after beating all the top three seeds in the tournament.

“We went into the final with a relaxed approach and I guess it worked for us and they were always under pressure.”

The 31-year-old graphic designer felt that their title win — Denmark's first since 2003 men's doubles crown — should provide the much needed impetus to the game back home.

“We had two pairs in the semifinals. In almost all top badminton playing countries, the budget for the sport is increasing and we hope that our title win also has the same effect in Denmark.”