Austrians feed off Hague 4-Star crowd to maintain progress

The Hague, Netherlands, January 5, 2018 – Lena Plesiutschnig and Katharina Schutzenhofer made themselves at home at the Dela Beach Open on Friday, as they held off Anniina Lahti and Taru Parkkinen to reach the second knockout round. 

The Austrians certainly enjoyed the centre court crowd, and fed off the noise they made to finish with a 2-1 (21-23, 21-11, 15-12) win over the Finish duo at the indoor arena at Sportcampus Zuiderpark in The Hague.

“It was amazing and centre court is amazing,” Schutzenhofer said. “It was our first match on centre court and the light is crazy and there were a lot of people watching. I’m happy we won, it was fun to play on centre court.

“We have tournaments in Austria where the court is very loud and here it was exactly the same. We used this and it allowed us to enjoy it more.”

Plesiutschnig and Schutzenhofer will now take on Czech Olympians Barbara Hermannova and Marketa Slukova in the second knockout round. 

They Austrians believe that they have improved over their three matches, and are aiming to take another step up on Saturday. 

“Our form is pretty good, though we lost our first match,” Schutzenhofer said. “We won our second this morning and now we are happy to have won the way we did. 

“It was our best match in the tournament so far and I hope we can do a little bit better tomorrow and beat the Czechs, because we are having a good tournament.”

Riikka Lehtonen and Niina Ahtiainen ensured that there will be a Finnish team in the second knockout round after they defeated Brooke Sweat and Summer Ross in straight sets. 

Lehtonen and Ahtiainen beat the US duo 2-0 (21-15, 21-19) to set up a clash against the Netherlands’ Joy Stubbe and Marleen van Iersel. 

“Until now we haven’t played so well here, but we are a new couple and we have only been playing together for over a month,” Lehtonen said. “This was absolutely our best game and what I really liked is we stayed focused the whole match. 

“We had good tactics against Summer and made blocks and defenced well. Our serve held the whole match.”

For more information on the tournament, click here.


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