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19 August 2001, 04:17 pm
Semi Finallists Decided
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Jesper Bank photo:Per Heegaard

Danish Open Match Race

Skovshoved Harbor - Jesper Bank and his Victory Challenge crew swept past fellow Dane Jes Gram-Hansen and Team Marienlyst to continue their strong showing at the Swedish Match Tour's Danish Open 2001.
Bank is joined in the semifinals by Victory Challenge teammate Magnus Holmberg, Prada Challenge's Gavin Brady and Oracle Racing's Peter Holmberg who staged a dramatic comeback, down two matches to zero in the best-of-five quaterfinals to advance.

Bank easily dispatched of his younger and less experienced opponent and served notice that his is the team to beat on championship Sunday on the waters of Skovshoved Harbor. In spite of the fact the Danish Open 2001 is only his second match race event this year, Bank has shown no rust this week and is clearly building on his ninth place finish at last month's Swedish Match Cup.

"I've been very pleased with the way we've sailed this week," said Bank. "The further you advance in these regattas the more difficult the competition. Hopefully we can continue to work well together as a team and have a positive result tomorrow."

Bank's Victory Challenge teammate Magnus Holmberg and his Team StoraEnso match race crew advanced after dropping the first match of the quarters to Morten Henriksen of the illbruck Challenge. Holmberg and crew then rallied back to take three consecutive matches to sail into the next round.

"We've focused on winning the starts this week and putting ourselves in a position to win," said Holmberg. "The conditions have been very shifty so, as a result, the sailing has been very close."

Brady and Ben Ainslie of the OneWorld Challenge staged a see-saw battle in their quarterfinal confrontation. Brady won the first match of the day while Ainslie countered, winning matches two and three. The pendulum and ensuing momentum then swung in Brady's favor as the Italian skipper won matches four and five to take his place in Sunday's championship round.

The most dramatic match-up of the day featured local skipper Jesper Radich against Peter Holmberg and his Oracle Racing Team. Radich took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five quarterfinal and then had to sit and wait through a two-hour delay as the morning's light breeze all but disappeared. When sailing resumed Holmberg took advantage of a Radich penalty at the start to swing momentum in Oracle's favor. Holmberg and crew then won the starts in matches four and five to cap the rally.

Following the quarterfinals, Holmberg, as usual, deflected the praise, "I'm fortunate to sail with John Cutler (tactician and America's Cup veteran). I trust him and he found us good good wind all afternoon. We aren't that familiar with the boats and we've been operating on a learning curve as a team all week. Hopefully we're peaking at the right time."

In sail-offs for places nine - sixteen, Lars Nordbjerg of Denmark defeated Great Britain's Chris Law to claim ninth place. Law, sailing with a local Danish crew, was nonetheless pleased considering it was his first match racing event in several years. Denmark's Henrik Jensen then defeated Johnie Berntsson of Sweden, sailing in only his second Grade 1 regatta. Berntsson had made his debut on the highest level of the international match race scene last month at the Swedish Match Cup in Marstrand, Sweden where he similarly finsihed twelfth.

In the 13th place match, Danish amateur Jesper Feldt defeated the GBR Challenge skippered by Andy Beadsworth, competing for the first time in six months due to a broken bone in his hand. Finally, Murray Jones and his Alinghi crew defeated Sebastien Destramau and the Le Defi Challenge team to take 15th place.

Sailing was suspended after the completion of the second flight of quarterfinal matches as the morning's light breeze evaporated. The ensuing two-hour delay allowed crews and spectators to mingle, relax and enjoy Danish hospitality in the event's festival village.

Quarterfinal Results

Quarterfinal 1

Bank def. Gram -Hansen

Bank def. Gram-Hansen

Bank def. Gram-Hansen

Quarterfinal 2

Henriksen def. M. Holmberg

M. Holmberg def. Henriksen

M. Holmberg def. Henriksen

M. Holmberg def. Henriksen

Quarterfinal 3

Radich def. P. Holmberg

Radich def. P. Holmberg

P. Holmberg def. Radich

P. Holmberg def. Radich

P. Holmberg def. Radich

Quarterfinal 4

Brady def. Ainslie

Ainslie def. Brady

Ainslie def. Brady

Brady def. Ainslie

Brady def. Ainslie

Overall Standings

1.. TBD
2.. TBD
3.. TBD
4.. TBD
5.. TBD
6.. TBD
7.. TBD
8.. TBD
9.. Lars Nordbjerg (Denmark)
10.. Chris Law (Great Britain)
11.. Henrik Jensen (Denmark)
12.. Johnie Berntsson (Sweden)
13.. Jesper Feldt (Denmark)
14.. Andy Beadsworth (GBR Challenge)
15.. Murray Jones (Alinghi Challenge)
16.. Sebastien Destramau (Le Defi Challenge)


Shawn McBride/News Editor
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