King Kento’s Back, But Axelsen Wins Crown

King Kento’s Back, But Axelsen Wins Crown

For an extended period on Sunday, the summit ascent of one of the most astonishing comebacks in badminton was in progress.

Kento Momota, 20 months after a car accident nearly derailed his badminton career, and having reproduced his form in fits and starts on his comeback, finally put it all together in an electric display over the first two games against home hero and Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen.

The Dane had mowed down one opponent after another this year with his bludgeoning smash and considerable all-round abilities, but Momota moved with a sixth sense and was always there, in the right place at the right time. Alternately he teased and caressed the shuttle, pinging it into the right spots at just the right pace, rarely giving the big-hitting Axelsen the openings he sought. It was precise, controlled badminton of high quality, each question asked inspiring an equal response from the other end.

Momota played with controlled brilliance.

With a game up and 17-14 in the second, Momota looked set to continue his reign over Axelsen, over whom he had a 14-1 record.

Oh no, not again, Axelsen thought.

At this point the match turned. Momota’s judgement on the lifts to his backhand corner went awry; the shuttle fell on the line a couple of times, and suddenly Axelsen was back in the match. With the second game in his bag, the Dane persisted with his high pace even as Momota wilted in physical intensity.

Axelsen’s dream year continued with the 20-22 21-18 21-12 result, his fifth title of the season also his first Denmark Open title in the city he grew up in.

“It feels really overwhelming,” Axelsen said. “It’s a combination of being really overwhelmed and really tired. It was a tough one in there today. Obviously Kento is a really strong opponent. It’s good to play him again, it’s been a long time. I’m happy I managed to win.

“The first game was tough physically and mentally. I felt I should have taken it. He played a solid defence and my attack was a bit easy to read. In the second game I was behind and to be honest I was feeling a little bit Oh no, not again… I was having a tough time finding the gaps. But then I started to relax and play at a high pace, and then it worked out and in the third game he struggled a bit physically.

“It was a crazy mental game, quite demanding. It goes up and down in a match like this when you play such a great player.”

The Denmark Open final was one of the great matches of 2021.

Momota, having lost the match, sat in the seat courtside for a long time, staring into the distance. He had been so close to achieving something of great consequence; yet, the level of his play over the first two games was indicative of how far he has come.

“In the second game I felt there was a side wind, but it wasn’t there as much as I imagined, so I misjudged twice and that’s probably why I lost.

“Both of us put out all we had. Emotionally maybe I got pushed back a lot in the third game. It’s always exciting to play him because I get to develop a lot. These days I haven’t been playing very well, but now I feel I was able to free myself from something that was holding me back. So I think it has been a good switch for me.”

Yamaguchi Wins Enthralling Final

Yamaguchi prevailed over An Seyoung.

Momota’s loss was the only one that Japan suffered in four finals, with Akane Yamaguchi, Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino capturing the women’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles titles respectively. China’s Huang Dong Ping/Zheng Yu took the women’s doubles over Lee Sohee/Shin Seungchan.

Yamaguchi’s final against Korea’s An Seyoung was every bit as enthralling as the men’s singles final that played out later. Yamaguchi’s grim determination in the face of a defensive masterclass from An Seyoung resulted in an epic battle. An Seyoung had match point in the second game before Yamaguchi prevailed; after a titanic struggle to 25-23 that the Japanese won, An Seyoung’s level dropped in the third as a muscle strain in the right thigh started playing up.

For Yamaguchi, it was her first Super 1000 title since the Indonesia Open 2019, and sweet revenge after a rout by her Korean rival at the Uber Cup ten days ago.

“Firstly, to win any game is really nice. Secondly, it’s been a while since I won a tournament so that that also feels nice. I’m very proud of myself that I was able to get the second game. I was able to respond to the cheering from the audience so if I could have given back a little bit with my performance, I’m proud about that too,” said Yamaguchi.

Click here for results of the VICTOR Denmark Open 2021

Hats Off to Indonesia, Says Kenneth Jonassen

Hats Off to Indonesia, Says Kenneth Jonassen
Kenneth Jonassen with Anders Antonsen.

Denmark’s loss to Indonesia in the Thomas Cup semifinals on Saturday was a tough one to swallow for the home favourites, for the Danes were widely expected to feature in the title round. Denmark head coach Kenneth Jonassen talks about the pivotal second singles that turned the tie Indonesia’s way and his admiration of how well the Indonesians handled the pressure.

Your immediate thoughts on the loss to Indonesia?

I think the doubles of Indonesia showed its strength. We knew there were a few crucial games we had to win, because we know the strength of Indonesian doubles and they showed it. We are tremendously proud of our guys for dealing with the pressure of playing on home soil, the expectations of doing well but also impressed by how each of the Indonesian players handled the crowd cheering for us, so my hats off to them for a great performance.

Jonatan Christie’s match against Anders Antonsen was the pivotal one in the tie.

Anders Antonsen’s was perhaps the pivotal match. Looking back, where do you think it turned?

(It turned on) Very small details. Winning the right rally at the right time could have set him (on to victory)… I think he had a few leads at the start of the third game which potentially could have kept us on, but at the end of the day you can’t ask anything more of players than giving everything on court, and he did, there was nothing left. So again, I take my hat off to Jonatan Christie for staying in there and delivering the point to Indonesia. We had a few chances, but Anders gave it all.

What were you telling him during the match?

The main thing was to keep believing, trust you’re strong enough to carry on, and not to let emotions get the best of you. With the crowd cheering you on it’s easy to get seduced and just follow your instinct all the time; sometimes it’s good to follow your instinct, but overall throughout the full match you have to be focussed and stable in your gameplan. Mainly, keep believing in yourself and see the opportunities happening even though he was under tremendous physical pressure throughout because it was a physical match. It always is when you play Jonatan, he’s a very strong player and it was neck and neck all the way.

What positives do you take from this campaign?

When the disappointment settles a bit I’m going to be proud of how we performed throughout the week. Not just the boys but also the girls. As I talked to both of the teams, for such a big event we have to learn to play at home, how to deal with the expectations and so on, and I can only say I felt we did that really well. We just lost to better opponents, but I also give a little bit of faith for the future. In women’s team we have a young setup. The boys, we are working on a generation change, but we can still say we battled against the best. Today we lost but we are competitive and if you give us a chance, we’ll come back.

Click here for results





Zhou Hao Dong and He Ji Ting provided the breakthrough for China.





Akane Yamaguchi kept Japan in the hunt.



Shi Yu Qi took advantage of an under-par Momota.


石宇奇在庆祝他2019年7月受伤复出后的最佳时刻时,承诺要比受伤前更好。“我放弃了第二局以恢复我的体力。我必须把所有的精力都放在第三局比赛上。我有90%的最佳状态。赢得比赛是一件很棒的事情,但我的目标不是回到以前的水平——我要达到以前水平的120% !”

Chen Qing Chen is mobbed by her teammates after the women’s doubles victory gave the title to China.


随着21-17 21-16的胜利,苏迪曼杯留在了中国。“奥运会之后,这个冠军让我们可以再次激励我们的队员,”张军说,“我们本届苏杯男双阵容上不是最完美的,对泰国和丹麦我们有一些困难,但我们决定让年轻球员上场,我们信任他们的能力,他们今天做的很好。”
Click here for Match Centre.

‘Stopping This Just Kills You Inside’

‘Stopping This Just Kills You Inside’

What keeps BR Sankeerth going?

It’s a question often asked of athletes, but the ones that feel it most keenly are the journeymen – those ranked beyond the top 40 or so, who don’t have the benefits of sponsorship or state support that the top players do; those who have to balance earnings, studies and game, seeking but not sure of success.

So, as world No.81 and having plied his trade mostly at the International Challenge and International Series level over the last few years, and with the breakthrough win yet to come his way, the question is asked: What keeps him going?

“It is expensive. I guess I’m in a tough situation to pay for all this, it’s not easy for sure,” says the 23-year-old, currently the fourth highest-ranked Canadian. “It’s just something you can’t give up on. You can’t quit. You can’t stay alive (without badminton)… it is hard even for the next few months, but just stopping this kills you inside, you just can’t be happy without it. I don’t know… something about it (keeps me going). So just find a way, keep competing and pushing.”

The Bangalore-born Sankeerth was a junior international with India before his family emigrated to Canada. For the next four years he played a clutch of tournaments mostly in the Pan Am region, but in 2019 he travelled far and wide in pursuit of ranking points. That year he played a staggering 31 tournaments – including in places as diverse as Cameroon, Mexico and Pakistan.

He raises the money, he says, “through coaching and some side hustles”.

“I don’t have any sponsors yet. I try to work as much as I can when I’m home, and then I spend it all on this. I do some coaching, I do some other work as well, some side hustles, to keep competing. Canada tries to support us as much as they can. All the players support themselves. It is quite expensive.”

This year he played nine tournaments before arriving at the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2021, and has a few more lined up. There have been some encouraging results, such as the semifinals of the Pan Am Championships and the Mexican International Challenge, and finishing runner-up at the Lithuanian International. At the ongoing Sudirman Cup, he pushed Vladimir Malkov in an entertaining three-game battle.

The goal, he says, is to gain sufficient ranking points to enable him to compete at the higher end of the Tour.

“I was in university studying chemistry, but I dropped out. It was hard to study, to work, and to compete. I dropped out to push in badminton and it was one year away from the Olympics. I will continue to push. I believe I have the level, the talent. Just lacking one or two things.

“I would like to compete more in the (World Tour) 300s, 500s. My world ranking is 81, I need to bring it lower, to get an entry in these tournaments. Sometimes I do get lucky, but I need a consistent level to compete. Even today (Thursday) I was on the slightly weaker side. But I’m looking forward to the future.”

He has shifted his training base to Bangalore, the city of his childhood, where he works with a team under coach Jagadish Yadav – “he’s a person who makes me believe in what I do every day”.

As for the immediate future, Sankeerth is looking for those “three-four results” that will help him get into the top 50, which would help him make the draws of the Super 300 and 500 tournaments.

While the pursuit of ranking points is expensive for a self-funded player, Sankeerth says it’s not just about the money.

“It’s just satisfaction. I don’t know how to explain it. The level of respect and appreciation I get, for what I’m doing — which is OK. I want to be better, I want to be a player. Seeing the top players play… it makes you want to be there, right?”

Click here for Match Centre.


Kento Momota took time to find his game against Torjussen.

2021道达尔能源世界羽联苏迪曼杯总决赛 第三比赛日中,桃田贤斗率领的日本队5-0击败英格兰队,将与马来西亚队争夺小组头名位置。




Johnnie Torjussen.




本·莱恩和文迪不敌古贺辉/斋藤太一,没能阻止日本队。 山口茜以21-16/21-12击败霍尔顿,之后志田千阳/松山奈未在与布里奇/史密斯的比赛中直落两局,帮助日本队5-0完胜英格兰队。


Click here for Match Centre.

Download the Badminton4U app here.

BWF Launches New Badminton4U App

BWF Launches New Badminton4U App

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has launched a brand-new mobile app offering fans a unique content and user experience designed to bring you the viewer closer to the action.

Available in English and Simplified Chinese, the Badminton4U app appeals to a global audience and showcases the best badminton content from around the world, all in one convenient location.


BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer said of the launch: “The Badminton4U app is the start of an exciting new journey to connect the worldwide badminton audience with badminton all year round.

“It is a project close to our hearts and one that will give a new dimension to how badminton is consumed.

“We now look forward to seeing fans around the world downloading Badminton4U and becoming immersed in the sport more than ever.”

From today, users of Badminton4U can follow their favourite players, receive live scores as they happen, get notifications when their favourite player is on court, watch the latest video-on-demand, and receive the latest badminton news all in a flash.

The app is free to download and includes access to real-time match centre data and exclusive back-stage pass content.

Plus, fans have the option to register for a richer, more personalised experience where they can individually tailor their content selection based on the players and teams they love.

The dynamic environment also allows users quick and easy access to these features all in the palm of their hand.

BWF Council Member and Chair – Communications and Media Committee, Nigel Skelt, said the app had been a strategic endeavour long in the making.

“We have been striving for a unique way to reach more badminton fans in a capacity that connects them to the sport and the players more directly and we believe Badminton4U is a big part of this solution,” Skelt said.

“We’re excited to watch it flourish for many years to come as we continue in our pursuit to grow badminton globally.”

BWF Secretary General Thomas Lund added: “Thank you to our development partners Deltatre and the entire team responsible for making this project a reality.

“Development has been a thorough process, although somewhat complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but we’re now extremely thrilled to see the app on the shelves.”

Badminton4U is available from today via Google Play and Apple iOS stores.






Yamaguchi with the Denmark Open trophy.









Shy acknowledgement to teammates after winning her match at the Sudirman Cup.






‘After Tokyo, I Thought, Let Me Start From Zero’

‘After Tokyo, I Thought, Let Me Start From Zero’

Akane Yamaguchi has a light-hearted manner about her these days. A cloud seems to have lifted. Having led Japan into the Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup finals, and winning the VICTOR Denmark Open 2021 in a titanic duel, Yamaguchi is reclaiming her place in the sun.

The Japanese world No.5 opens up about her Denmark Open win, her recent performances, and how she bounced back from the setback at her home Olympics:

What does it mean to win the Denmark Open?

Yamaguchi with the Denmark Open trophy.

Firstly, to win any game is really nice. Secondly, it’s been a while since I won a tournament so that also feels nice. The second game was the key and I’m proud that I could get it. Because of that I think I was able to respond to the cheering so if I could have given back a little bit with my play for the cheering I’m proud of that.

You were distraught after your Uber Cup loss to An Seyoung. Did that loss spur you on in the Denmark Open final?

Yes, in a way… because I lost so badly I had to work on not only strategy but I had to rebuild my emotions towards the final. I chose to think that even though she’s younger than me, I’m the challenger, and had to push towards her. That meant it made me grow to be a challenger and to do better.

You’ve been exceptional during this European season. How difficult was the quarterfinal loss in Tokyo 2020, and did that make you determined to make amends?

Going back, after the Rio Olympics (in 2016), I couldn’t play well but at that time, after Rio, I was able to say like, okay, I didn’t do well so I’m going to do better next time. But at the Tokyo Olympics, the results were not good. And I couldn’t be satisfied and I wasn’t myself in Tokyo. But that time I couldn’t really feel that, okay, now I’m going to do better next time; I couldn’t feel like that. So that’s why, rather than to think of the next event, I thought, let’s just make it zero. I’m going to start from the very beginning. I’m just going to purely enjoy badminton. And I think going in, not thinking about all the results and being zero and just to purely enjoy badminton which I really do, was leading to these good results and high performance.

How highly do you rate this Denmark Open win compared to the other major achievements in your career?

Well, if I’m asked if this match changed my career or my badminton life, honestly, the answer is no. It’s not as big. But because of Covid there were no audiences in stadiums over many months. It has been a very, very long while. This was the first time in a very long while that I played in front of an audience. And because of that, I feel the importance, the excitement of being able to play in a stadium full of people and also that I was able to give back a little bit towards the audience with my play. This whole process was really fun and I can now feel the gratitude towards that.

So for me the badminton philosophy and the badminton life is to be able to give back with my best play the cheering that I receive.

Shy acknowledgement to teammates after winning her match at the Sudirman Cup.

In the team events you led Japan into the finals of the Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup, and you won both matches against Chen Yu Fei…

Team tournaments mean I have Japan on my back, so I should not lose easily. That’s where the strength is coming from, and that’s also why I was able to perform well. It’s the flow from there, that I’m being able to play well now. So rather than thinking about results, I’m just following the good rhythm and the flow from those two tournaments.

On court, you never give away what’s going on in your mind. Do you experience tumult?

It depends on the tournament. I’m always the same but according to the tournament, I’m sometimes very agitated, and sometimes I’m calm. For this tournament, I was quite calm even though the game was intense.

You are one of the very few players who never asks for a towel break during a game, you hardly ever change the shuttle. Don’t you need those little intervals to get through intense matches?

I cannot concentrate at a high level through the match. If I take a break my focus will be broken, so that’s why I don’t like frequent breaks.

Of course I get tired. But due to Covid there haven’t been a lot of matches except for the Olympics, so there’s excitement that I’m able to play with overseas players.






Momota played with controlled brilliance.




安赛龙梦幻般的2021年还在继续,他以20-22 21-18 21-12的比分击败了宿敌桃田贤斗并拿下本赛季第五个冠军。这也是他在自己的家乡获得的第一个丹麦公开赛冠军。




The Denmark Open final was one of the great matches of 2021.





Yamaguchi prevailed over An Seyoung.





Axelsen-Momota: Thunder Meets Rock

Axelsen-Momota: Thunder Meets Rock
Momota and Axelsen, the two best players of this era.

Kento Momota is 14-1 in career meetings against Viktor Axelsen.

However, when the two meet today in the final of the VICTOR Denmark Open 2021, that will be no more than an interesting statistic. It will have little bearing on what transpires today, for so much has happened in their lives since that last meeting in January 2020.

The subtext to their final today will be how far the Momota of today is from the Momota from before his car accident in January 2020.

The world champion chose to look at the question differently.

“The past is the past and our head-to-head record is the past and I don’t think it is relevant for tomorrow. If I don’t play 100 per cent or 120 per cent I will easily lose. So how I make my feelings strong and determination within myself will be the key for tomorrow,” said Momota.

Kento Momota had a smooth path to the final.

In a sense, the final represents a clash between the not-too-distant past – the Momota of pre-January 2020 – and the present, the Axelsen of 2021, the Olympic champion, the man who has lost just two of his 50 matches this year. It will be a pointer to where Momota stands, how far he has come since the trauma of the accident and subsequent setbacks such as his shock loss at Tokyo 2020. Recent results have been a mixed bag; his performance against the nearly flawless Axelsen will be an accurate estimate of his current form.

The 14-1 statistic is mostly representative of the past that Momota doesn’t want to dwell on anymore. It was of a time when he was the one opponent Axelsen could never get the better of over a prolonged period. Axelsen needs no extra motivation, but it will be important for him that he is playing in his hometown, in the final of a tournament that he has never won.

With Axelsen having lost just two matches this year, even as he made his eighth final of 2021, most would have him as favourite. Momota could not but back himself.

“At this point, it will be very silly if I say Viktor is going to win. So I will say that I will win. I will keep my feelings strong,” said Momota.

“Finally, we get to play. I’m very excited. But now Viktor plays nearly perfectly, so I’m a bit concerned about that. But I will try to enjoy it as much as I can. We’ve been looking forward to this match. We respect each other as players so I will do my best.”

Viktor Axelsen countered some difficult opponents on the way to the final.

As for Axelsen himself, the Dane was his usual cautious self, only stating that he had to be at his best if he had to finally get the better of his former nemesis.

“For me, personally, it’s a great matchup. I’ve had a bit of a hard time against Momota, so tomorrow I want to do better. I want to see if I can beat him. I’m feeling confident, I’m looking forward to it. I have huge respect for Momota, he’s a really strong opponent, so it will be a fun experience for sure.”

‘Losing This… Would’ve Followed Us Forever’

‘Losing This… Would’ve Followed Us Forever’

Strangely, there was no celebration. Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, otherwise known for their unique post-victory war dances, temporarily withdrew into their own worlds after a roller-coaster semifinal at the VICTOR Denmark Open 2021.

It wasn’t just that this was their first Denmark Open final on their ninth try; not just that, a year ago, at this very event, they were at a low point in their career after crashing out to their juniors in the second round.

Rather, it was due to their shock at how close they had come to squandering a dream victory that was in their hands, against Malaysia’s Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin. As Rasmussen was to say later, a loss “would have followed us forever”.

Kim Astrup reacts in disbelief after making the final.

“I’m used to doing a good celebration but today my thoughts went home to my family,” said Rasmussen, who sat in stunned silence after a line call on match point went their way. “It kind of shocked me in a way and I was very emotional after the match. I still am. There wasn’t dancing or anything, but it was overwhelming in every sense. I’m very grateful. We threw it away in the second game. I don’t know what we would have done if we had lost the match. That would have been… epic, in a way. I’m glad we turned it around because that (loss) would have followed us forever.”

The Danes were flying in the semifinal, against Goh and Izzuddin. Astrup was delivering unreturnable serves and the Danes streaked ahead 13-5 in the second. They were sniffing victory, but a few indecisive moments later, the Malaysians had forced a third game.

Anders Skaarup Rasmussen.

The pattern repeated all over again in the third, and when the Danes had finally won the last point, Rasmussen stared blankly into space; Astrup had his head in his hands.

“That moment when you feel like it’s slipping through your fingers, it’s a tough feeling,” said Astrup. “We were so close to standing in the final and you can see it melt away. And there’s literally nothing you can do except try to do better. So I’m very proud of how we handled it and we put everything into it and left it all out there and got a great start in the third game and a little bit of luck in the end.”

Just a year ago, Astrup and Rasmussen had despair written all over them after falling to junior compatriots Rasmus Kjaer and Joel Eipe in the second round. That loss led to a lot of soul-searching, with Astrup revealing that they had even contemplated calling it quits.

“That was a low point. It got us thinking — is it really worth it, is it worth all the trouble? Sometimes you’ve got to go very deep to get really high. But this is an insane high for us. We are insanely happy.

“We feel like we have possibilities to play the very best again, and I’m pleased with that. A lot of injuries and difficult times have made it difficult for us to play our best, but I’m so satisfied with our level this week.”

Astrup and Rasmussen thus made it to their first Super 1000 final since the China Open in 2018, which they won. That victory was followed by several ups and downs. It was at the Swiss Open in March this year that they struck form once again, following up with semifinals at the All England and the European Championships.

“It isn’t always easy being an elite sportsman,” said the emotional Astrup. “It’s easy and difficult at the same time, because there’s so much pressure on you. You put so much pressure on yourself. Today we got a dream come true again. I was not sure we’d get into a Super 1000 final again, but now we have a chance and we are satisfied with that.”

Click here for results 

Maiden Super 1000 Semifinal Validation of Gilmour’s Progress

Maiden Super 1000 Semifinal Validation of Gilmour’s Progress

Kirsty Gilmour likes to reference a picture of two little mining men – “one is an inch away from striking gold, and the other one’s packed up and gone home.”

There is little doubt on who she equates with the more resilient miner, the one who does strike gold.

The analogy appears when she talks of how long it has taken her to break into a Super 1000 semifinal for the first time in a longish career.

“I know, if I just make a couple more smart decisions, if I tighten up a couple of shots, that I’m right there, and I think I’ve been right there. It takes all these years coming to these top tournaments, because I can’t necessarily get that level of sparring everybody has.”

Kirsty Gilmour in action.

Gilmour’s entry into the VICTOR Denmark Open semifinals — her first last-four place in an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000 event — came with a look of disbelief as she beat Clara Azurmendi, her second three-game win in two days.

After beating Kim Gaeun in a tense duel on Thursday, 26-24 in the third, it was a more comfortable finish for the Scot today, although she lost the second game after being 13-6 and 18-15 ahead.

She wrapped up the third game at 21-11, threw her racket away, and clutched her head in disbelief. She was in her first semifinal at an event of this level.

“I don’t think this happens often at this level tournament, (it’s always) the same eight to 10 names in the semifinals and quarterfinals. So yeah, I think I’m not gonna lie, it was very nervy for both of us out there.

“There were probably a little bit nerves (in the second game) but Clara is a very aggressive player as well, so absolutely fair play to her, she did step up a little bit and I also had to come up to meet that, so I got off to a good start in the third which I think was the most important thing and just kind of kept that gap from there. I didn’t have to do anything special, just keep doing what I was doing.”

Gilmour after beating Kim Gaeun.

Gilmour credited the resurgence in her form to the work put under coach Ingo Kindervater over the last couple of years. Victory at the SaarLorLux Open last November was validation that she was on the right path. After recovering from a stress fracture in December that took four months to heal, Gilmour made the semifinals of the European Championships in May this year.

“It feels pretty good. You know, we had the European Championships, fighting for bronze there. So, yeah, it’s nice to be able to, you know, step on court and not be worried about little injuries. Just to go on, play my game. Be fearless. And that’s really what I’m trying to do.”

It will be An Seyoung in the semifinals tomorrow, against whom she is 0-2.

“I’ve always loved playing An Seyoung and we’ve played a couple of times right before the whole Covid situation so it will be interesting to see how we match up this time, there were good games last time so at this point there’s nothing to lose. I don’t get the chance to be the true underdog very often but I’ll happily take up that position tomorrow.

“I think her movement is her absolute strength. She just looks like she’s gliding around the court. She makes it look effortless. But I’m going to speak with Ingo and new coach (Jan O) Jorgensen. And see what we can come up with. I’m going to go over my notes from last time, but it’s going to be a good match. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Click here for match centre


Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana celebrate their win.




Muhammad Shohibul Fikri (right) and Bagas Maulana, who surprised the Minions.



另一对年轻的印尼组合库苏马瓦达纳/兰比坦,在对阵阿斯特鲁普/拉斯姆森的第二局比赛中以18-12领先。然而经验丰富的丹麦组合并没有慌张,他们连拿九分以21-15 21-18的比分赢下比赛。这也是这对组合九次参加丹麦公开赛以来首次进入四分之一决赛。

Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen stopped their young Indonesian opponents after trailing 12-18 in the second game.




Former Denmark Open Champ’s Quest for Form that Deserted Him

Former Denmark Open Champ’s Quest for Form that Deserted Him

The paths of two recent Denmark Open champions – Kento Momota and Kidambi Srikanth — crossed on Thursday; both now in varying stages of self-discovery having slipped from the pinnacle of the game.

Kidambi was riding a wave in 2017. He was in five Superseries finals that season, winning four – including the Denmark Open and French Open on successive weeks.

Momota, king of the circuit in 2018 and 2019, had won the Denmark Open those two years before it all changed for him following his car accident in January 2020. The world champion has made a tentative return, showing flashes of his old self, but has been some way off from the version that dominated the circuit.

Kidambi Srikanth, still seeking form.

Of the two, Kidambi’s is perhaps the more puzzling case, to himself and to followers of the sport. There was no defining moment when his form deserted him. It’s a question to which he has been seeking answers, without much success.

When the two met in the second round, Kidambi’s sharp attack was pitched against Momota’s defensive prowess, and the Indian built up a comfortable lead in the opening game before losing it and falling in straight games. It was the kind of loss that summed up his predicament – how did he lose his way after a lead of 15-8 and 20-17? He himself has no clear answers.

“If I’d won that first game, things would’ve been different. When you’re playing at the highest level, you have to pull out such matches. 20-17 is a big lead,” Kidambi reasoned.

“I could see myself getting better in the first game, but at the highest level you have to convert these close ones into wins. All I can do is keep working in the right way, it’s about working hard and sticking to it.

“Sometimes it’s too tough to come back after losing the game from 20-17. He got a big lead in the second game. Maybe I should’ve started better in the second game. Maybe I’m just learning. I will work on a couple of things with my coach.

Kidambi Srikanth.

The answers were more or less what he has offered over the last few years after every loss, every statement carrying underlying uncertainty.

Were the depleting results due to his own loss of form, or simply because the others were playing at a different level? Had men’s singles itself changed over the last four years? What did he have to do to catch up?

“I think at the highest level, you always have to be there. There can’t be ups and downs. There can be a 10 percent (change in level) but not 30 percent ups and downs. But for me, with the (knee) injury and during the Covid period, I lost a couple of years. It’s just that I couldn’t play and also, the Olympics, not being able to qualify. A lot of things, six tournaments getting cancelled.

“There are five-six guys who are playing really well. For me to get to that level it takes a lot more hard work. When I go back to Hyderabad and analyse what went wrong, it will be a little easier to figure out what to do. So I will get some time to work on things after the World Championships.”

What was it like to return to the Denmark Open, an event which he won while in his prime?

“Definitely it carries memories, I still remember winning this tournament. I didn’t forget about it, but now the situation has changed, the conditions have changed. So it’s more about thinking about the match that I play, rather than what has happened in the past.”

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Minions Stunned by Young Compatriots

Minions Stunned by Young Compatriots
Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana celebrate their win.

Indonesia’s young doubles pairs made an impression in the second round of the VICTOR Denmark Open 2021.

Muhammad Shohibul Fikri and Bagas Maulana were among the successful pairs, having stunned top seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo, but others, such as Pramudya Kusumawardana/Yeremia Erich Yoche Yacob Rambitan and Nita Violina Marwah/Putri Syaikah held strong positions against more fancied opponents before losing their way.

Fikri and Maulana never let their senior compatriots off the hook in a close third game; the Minions saved two match points before succumbing on the third.

Muhammad Shohibul Fikri (right) and Bagas Maulana, who surprised the Minions.

“They played really well today, and we were not lucky at the end,” said Gideon.

“I’m thankful that we could beat them. We had nothing to lose and we tried to enjoy the game. Coming in, we were very nervous and playing our seniors, but we felt better once the match started. We’ve never beaten Marcus and Kevin during practice, this is our first win so we are very happy,” said Fikri.

Another young Indonesian pair, Kusumawardana/Rambitan, looked set to take the second game against eighth seeds Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen with an 18-12 lead. The Danes however ran up a winning streak from that stage, taking the next nine points to win 21-15 21-18 to enter their first quarterfinals in nine attempts at the Denmark Open.

Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen stopped their young Indonesian opponents after trailing 12-18 in the second game.

“Sometimes when you are behind and think this set is lost you find some kind of relaxed state of mind. We pushed through all the way. Usually you have a stop at 18 or 19, but we kept on going and they made some mistakes for us; I think they struggled with Kim’s serve. We really impressed ourselves,” said Rasmussen.

“The last eight times we’ve never been through to the quarterfinals, this is our first time. That means a lot to us. We’ve never been able to give our home crowd the level they deserve so we were both shaking a bit after the match. We had goosebumps,” said Astrup.

A third young Indonesian doubles pair to do well was Nita Violina Marwah/Putri Syaikah. The 20-year-olds stretched second seeds Lee Sohee/Shin Seungchan to three games, with the Koreans prevailing 15-21 21-18 21-15.

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