DENMARK OPEN 2011 R16 – Four top names tumble

The Yonex Denmark Open reeled from the loss of four top names including Lin Dan, but there was plenty of cheer for home fans as Viktor Axelsen claimed his first […]

The Yonex reeled from the loss of four top names including Lin Dan, but there was plenty of cheer for home fans as Viktor Axelsen claimed his first big victim and Peter Gade joined him in the quarter-finals of his home Super Series. In the women’s singles, Tine Baun was scalped by Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand to offset some of the joy of Axelsen and Peter Gade’s wins.

By Dev S Sukumar, live in Odense. Photos: Shi Tang and Yohan Nonotte for Badmintonphoto (live)

So what really happened on Thursday? Lin Dan out. Taufik out. Saina out. Tine out.

It was a day of some sensational results, not the least Lin Dan’s indifferent performance against Wong Ki Wing of Hong Kong, who was the beneficiary of Superdan’s charity. While the young man was duly thrilled, the crowd wasn’t given its due. Lin looked lost, like he’d turned up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and never tried hard enough. The famed smash was kept away, and he delivered just a couple or so of his thunderbolts. His usual sharpness at the net was missing; most of his attacking shots were kept hidden, and he seemed to go through his motions.

Wong, for his part, gave us a sample of his capabilities – his crosscourt smash was zippy and accurate, and one hopes it’s the start of bigger things for the 21-year-old Hong Kong player, who changed his name from Wong Shu to Wong Wing Ki four years ago because his parents thought ‘Shu’ denoted ‘loser’. ‘Wing Ki’ apparently means ‘forever’ in his language. In any case, it was a happy day for the youngster.

A short while earlier, Viktor Axelsen gave his eager home fans plenty to cheer for as he dumped Taufik Hidayat in three games. Taufik made a match of it in the first game, but by the second and third, there was no stopping Axelsen. The tall teenager stole the net away from the Indonesian magician, was able to bring in his booming smashes, and by the end of it one was left wondering if Taufik should undergo the ignominy of losing so badly. Such losses have become frequent in recent years, and Taufik lacks the legs now to execute what his mind demands. Viktor was spectacular in all departments, and it was particularly in his domination of the net over Taufik that makes one believe he is a horse for the long course. The youngster sent several shuttles tumbling over the tape, and Taufik was truly outmatched.

Taufik is a gracious man these days, and granted the local press the bites they were looking for. ”Yes, he is good,” said Taufik, of his vanquisher. ”But we need time to see how far he will go. It’s too early to say whether he can become a World Champion. Because, from China, some new youngster will come up like a rocket.

Viktor acknowledged that the key was in controlling the net. ”Taufik is such a good player at the net, and it was important to take it away from him,” he said. ‘‘In the first game, he kept catching me and sent some tosses over me, so in the second I made some adjustments in my position and footwork. This is obviously my biggest moment.

The Danes will have one man at least in the semis, for Axelsen takes on Gade in a mouth-watering contest. Other contests include Jan O Jorgensen against Chen Long, Sho Sasaki against Wong Wi King, and Chen Jin versus Lee Chong Wei.

Saina, Tine out!

The morning session saw Saina Nehwal fall by the wayside to a player who has some nifty little strokes. Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei caught Saina flat-footed repeatedly with a fine, deceptive mix of strokes; her cross-net shots especially leaving the Indian stranded on several occasions. Tai has a useful smash, but it was her flicks from the net that opened up space against the attacking Indian, who hasn’t had a good year after a dream 2010. Tine Baun on her end bowed to Thailand’s rising star Ratchanok Intanon in straight games 21-16, 21-15.

The women’s singles has now five Chinese in the quarterfinals. Tai Tzu Ying and Ratchanok face off, while Sung Ji Hyun plays Wang Shixian.

All results HERE

Live streaming HERE

Badmintonphoto’s best pictures of the day HERE

About Dev Sukumar