DENMARK OPEN 2015 SF – Europeans shut out of finals

European shuttlers suffered three upsets and one more heartbreak as China and Korea are each vying for three titles on Sunday at the 2015 Denmark Open. By Don Hearn.  Photos: […]

European shuttlers suffered three upsets and one more heartbreak as China and Korea are each vying for three titles on Sunday at the 2015 .

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The 2015 Denmark Open will not see a Chinese sweep, as happened last year, but nor will there be a Danish finalist.  In fact, with the surprise defeat of World Champion Carolina Marin, it is down to just one continent in action on Sunday in Odense.

Home favourites faltered in three semi-finals on Saturday, the last time coming when 2010 champions and 4th seeds Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen went down in three games to China’s Liu Cheng and Lu Kai (pictured).  The Chinese pair had already ousted the reigning World Champions and the Danes fared only slightly better, winning the second game before seeing their opponents, who had come through from qualifying, pull away after the end change in the deciding game.

Boe and Mogensen just couldn’t get control of the rallies and were visibly frustrated.  When a promising 4-point run by the Danes was cut short by Mogensen being called for a service fault, he threw his racquet to the floor in disgust, but the umpire took no notice and the Chinese took a 17-13 lead.

The new Chinese pairing thus advance to what is already their second final and they will again face world #1 Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong (pictured), as they did in Australia.  The Koreans won their repeat of last year’s final, beating defending champions Fu Haifeng / Zhang Nan in two decisive but action-packed games.

Earlier, three-time champions Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen were even more ineffective against Korea’s Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (pictured below).  The Danes had won four straight matches against this Korean pair, seeming immune to the trouble they were giving the Chinese and others.

The home pair seemed thrown by Ko Sung Hyun’s serving style, his lack of preparation time and routine making him the polar opposite of Pedersen.  The Koreans were sharp overall, having great success in trapping Pedersen at the back, keeping Fischer Nielsen moving enough that he rarely was fully prepared to smash, then defending well when he did.

Kim Ha Na was lethal at the net, pouncing on loose shuttles and using a variety of blocks and kills.  Soon it was the Koreans who had the victory in hand and they proceeded to their first Superseries final of the year.

In the other mixed semi-final, the first match of the afternoon, former World Champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir made sure that there would be no title sweep by China in 2015.  They beat this year’s World Championship runners-up Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin in two games.

Fairy-tale ends for Axelsen

The first disappointment for Denmark on Saturday was the one where local fans were hoping for an upset.  Viktor Axelsen came into the match full of confidence having scored his second victory of the year over two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan.

However, Chen Long came in as the two-time defending World Champion and Denmark Open champion and confidence is something he has no reason to be short of. Viktor Axelsen (pictured) started strong, taking the first game, and after letting Chen get the better of him in the second, he took a 3-point lead to force the end-change in the deciding game.

After changing ends, Axelsen won a long, thrilling rally with a deceptive cross-court net shot but after the jubilant cheers for that rally died down, it was a while before they started up again.  Chen Long immediately embarked upon a devastating 11-point run that Axelsen had no miracle to bring him back from.

Chen will face Tommy Sugiarto (pictured, bottom left).  Sugiarto outplayed Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen to advance to his first Superseries final since early 2014.  The last time Chen and Sugiarto played each other was also in Denmark, when Chen defeated the Indonesian en route to his first World Championship title in Copenhagen last year.

Sindhu is back!

Sugiarto was not the only unseeded player to extend a string of upsets all the way to the final.  For India’s Pusarla Venkata Sindhu (pictured), it was an even bigger breakthrough.  For one thing, her semi-final upset came against none other than the reigning World Champion Carolina Marin.  What’s more, the win placed the 20-year-old in her first ever Superseries final.

Trailing 11-15 in the deciding game, Sindhu looked to be letting the match slip away but from 14-16 down, she put together a 6-point run that turned the tide irreversibly.  She will face Li Xuerui, who herself fell victim to a heroic reversal in her second game against Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun.  Li ran away with her third game but now must take on another player against whom she lost her previous encounter as it was Sindhu who ousted the Chinese ace from this year’s World Championships.

The women’s doubles will be between the reigning World Champions and yet another new Korean pair.  Jung Kyung Eun and Shin Seung Chan (pictured, bottom right) are the third Korean pair to contest a Superseries final this year and none of them have had more than a few tournaments together before getting their Sunday shot at the title.

Jung and Shin came at 7th-seeded Kakiiwa/Maeda of Japan alternating relentless attacks with patient defense and they managed to dominate the bottom half of both games before they were finally able to squeal in delight at the end of their hour-long, 21-11, 21-15 victory.

Finals line-up
XD: Tontowi Ahmad Liliyana Natsir (INA) [2] vs. Ko Sung Hyun / Kim Ha Na (KOR) [7]
WD: Tian Qing / Zhao Yunlei (CHN) [5] vs. Jung Kyung Eun / Shin Seung Chan (KOR)
MD: Lee Yong Dae / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [1] vs. Liu Cheng / Lu Kai (CHN)
WS: Li Xuerui (CHN) [4] vs. P. V. Sindhu (IND)
MS: Chen Long (CHN) [1] vs. Tommy Sugiarto (INA)

Click here for complete semi-final results

Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @