Baku, June 27, AZERTAC
Looking every bit like the no.1 seeds they were, Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva built an impressive lead within minutes of the first set starting against Ekaterina Bolotova and Evgeniya Kosetskaya, boisterously backed by a large Bulgarian crowd.
The second-seed opponents upped their game throughout the opening act, but the Stoevas took the first set comfortably, 21-12. In the second set, the young Russians, aged 22 and 20, managed to pack a little more punch.
Taking an early lead, they challenged their opponents all the way, even surviving four match points when the Stoeva sisters had reeled them back in.
On the fifth championship point, however, Gabriela Stoeva's smash proved to be too much.
In winning the first gold of the badminton event at Baku Sports Hall, Gabriela and Stefani Stoeva have also secured their home country its first gold of the European Games. Up until the sisters' success, Bulgaria had managed to get three silver and five bronze medals.
Badminton bronze in the women's doubles went to the two duos who were on the losing end of the semi-finals: Turkey's Neslihan Yigit and Ozge Bayrak, and Denmark's Lena Grebak and Maria Helsbol.
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