Arctic Open: Czech Mates Get Dream Daddies Date

Who could have predicted Hendra Setiawan and Mohammad Ahsan taking on a Czech pair in the quarterfinal of a Super 500 tournament?

That will be the case tomorrow at the CLASH OF CLANS Arctic Open 2023 powered by YONEX and the tandem in question are Ondřej Kral and Adam Mendrek, themselves playing only their second event at this level.

Their dream of facing the ‘Daddies’ came true following a productive outing against Americans Vinson Chiu/Joshua Yuan, which Kral/Mendrek won 21-17 21-18. In the first round, Kral/Mendrek defeated Bjarne Geiss/Jan Colin Voelker – the German tandem sitting six places above them on the world rankings – in three games.

Mendrek, his eyes clearly sparkling post-match, exclaimed: “We are going to face them for the first time and we are really excited.”

The momentousness of their feat was nevertheless not lost on the 27-year-old.

“It’s an amazing achievement, one of the best in our career because we don’t play these Super 500s regularly. It’s also crazy because no Czech player has ever advanced until the quarterfinal of a SuperSeries,” he said. “We are just looking forward to tomorrow and want to enjoy the match.”

Setiawan/Ahsan overcame Lee Jhe Huei/Yang Po Hsuan 21-13 21-19 early in the day.

Though overjoyed at the prospect of pitting their wits against the legends of the sport, the world No.59 duo aren’t leaving any stone unturned.

“Right now we just want to enjoy the moment because I’m not sure this ever happens again,” said Mendrek. “Our coach will have some videos and we are going to watch them to prepare. I’m just curious how tomorrow’s going to be like.”

Since coming together permanently in 2021, Kral and Mendrek have only competed at five HSBC BWF World Tour events, with four being Super 300s. Last year’s Korea Open, where they lost in the first round, was their sole previous appearance at a Super 500.

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