European Games: Defending Champ Antonsen Out

European Games: Defending Champ Antonsen Out
Anders Antonsen

Defending champion Anders Antonsen stumbled in the group stage at the European Games 2023, with the Dane’s straight-games loss to Felix Burestedt costing him dear.

Having fallen 21-19 21-19 to Sweden’s Burestedt on Tuesday, Antonsen needed to win his final Group B match against Kalle Koljonen in straight games on Thursday. However, Koljonen grabbed the opening game to put Antonsen out of contention, although the Dane did finish with a win by taking the next two games.

Koljonen, who had earlier beaten Burestedt on the opening day of the competition after saving two match points, progressed to the Round of 16 along with Burestedt.

There are eight groups each in men’s singles and women’s singles, with each group having four competitors. The top two of every group qualify for the Round of 16, while in doubles, the top two pairs from each of the four groups make the quarterfinals.

“I knew I had to win in straight games prior to the match,” said Antonsen to Badminton Europe. “I don’t think I played a terrible match, I played a decent match but Kalle gave it his best in the first game and he succeeded. In the end he had that extra pressure on me, he had that extra pace in his game and it was a stressful situation for me because I had only one chance. It is what it is. I’m very annoyed, for sure. But there’s nothing I can do about it now, other than get back to work and get better.”

Zahra Upstages Yvonne Li

Azerbaijan’s Keisha Fatimah Az Zahra produced the biggest surprise of the group stage with an upset over Yvonne Li on Thursday.

Although both Li and Zahra had qualified for the Round of 16 by winning their earlier matches in Group D, the result was still a surprise as Zahra is ranked No.82 to Li’s 23.

Li started well, but Zahra – who formerly played for Indonesia before switching to Azerbaijan last year – grabbed the next two games to take the win 17-21 21-18 21-17.


Jenjira Stadelmann stretched Marin in their opening group match.

In Group A, recent Indonesia Open runner-up Carolina Marin was taken the distance by Switzerland’s Jenjira Stadelmann, 21-10 19-21 21-13. Both Marin and Stadelmann made the Round of 16.

Among the close matches on the opening day was Mark Caljouw’s 22-24 22-20 21-16 result over Johnnie Torjussen. Dutchman Caljouw progressed to the knockout stage with Nhat Nguyen.

In mixed doubles Group D, Marcus Ellis/Lauren Smith beat fourth seeds Mark Lamsfuss/Isabel Lohau 16-21 21-17 21-10.

In men’s doubles Group D, Great Britain’s Alexander Dunn/Adam Hall beat Popov brothers Christo and Toma Junior and topped the group despite losing a close match to Poland’s Milosz Bochat/Robert Cybulski. The Popovs joined them in the knockout round as the second pair from the group.

Both Popov brothers also make the knockout in singles too. While Toma Junior is in the top half of the draw and faces Hungary’s Gergo Pytel, Christo in the lower half and takes on Czech Republic’s Jan Louda.