DENMARK OPEN 2016 R16 – From A(ntonsen) to Z(heng)

Already having emerged on the European circuit last year, Anders Antonsen is making a name for himself on the highest international level, pleasing the home crowd with a victory against […]

Already having emerged on the European circuit last year, Anders Antonsen is making a name for himself on the highest international level, pleasing the home crowd with a victory against world #12 Rajiv Ouseph at the , in what was a good day for 19-yearolds.

By Elm Vandevorst.  Photos: Arthur Van der Velde and Yohan Nonotte / Badmintonphoto (live)

Danish youngster Anders Antonsen (pictured above) has already shown on previous occasions what he’s capable of with victories at, amongst others, International Challenge tournaments in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and Spain.  Just last week, the European Junior Champion upped that to a Grand Prix semi-final performance at the Dutch Open.

And Antonsen can now prepare for his fifth match of this Denmark Open Premier tournament.  After already surviving two qualification matches on Tuesday, he saved 4 match points in his second game against Rajiv Ouseph of England en route to winning in three games.   His next opponent will be Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (pictured right), who is on his own roll, coming off his first career Grand Prix Gold title, at home at the Thailand Open earlier this month.

A bit more joy for the Danes came when Antonsen’s compatriot Christinna Pedersen progressed to the quarter finals both in the women’s doubles with Rytter Juhl and the mixed event with Fischer Nielsen.  More surprising was the defeat of Viktor Axelsen versus battle-seasoned Lee Hyun Il.

This meant that Denmark has only one iron left in the fire in the men’s singles after the elimination of Hans-Kristian Vittinghus and Jan O Jorgensen in the opening round.   In fact, Boe/Mogensen are the only ones left in men’s doubles after they sent off the scratch pairing of Chinese veterans Xu Chen and Fu Haifeng.   All told, Denmark has four representatives on quarter-finals day.

China’s Shi Yuqi (pictured), who overcame Jorgensen in the first round, is still flying high after another victory at the Odense Sportspark.  This time the Chinese qualifier ousted Ajay Jayaram in two games to himself become  China’s only chance left on claiming the title in this event, after the exit from Tian Houwei.

There are more chances for the Chinese delegation in the mixed doubles.  Half of the entries in the final eight are representatives of the Asian powerhouse:  Li Junhui / Bao Yixin, Lu Kai / Huang Yaqiong, Wang Yilyu / Huang Dongping and Zheng Siwei / Chen Qingchen.

Zheng Siwei and Chen Qingchen had a difficult opening game against Lee Chun Hei / Chau Hoi Wah , which they lost 19-21.  Getting back to full strength, the Chinese pairing had little difficulties defeating their rivals in the second and third.

The talented Zheng – recipient of last year’s Eddy Choong Award – is rapidly becoming one of the mixed doubles specialists for his country in the (near) future.  After all the gold medals he won as a junior with Chen, culminating in the 2015 World Junior Championships, he started off with one title early in 2016, with Li Yinhui, before he and Chen reunited to reach six more finals, winning half of them.  Now the two 19-year-olds have their sights set on a fourth straight Superseries final.

After Korea Open champion Akane Yamaguchi enjoyed a straightforward win over Finland’s Ari Mikkela, the only 19-year-old who was not successful on Thursday was Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh.  He was bested in men’s doubles in the first match of the day and he and Sapsiree Taerattanachai (pictured bottom) were narrowly beaten by All England champions Praveen Jordan and Debby Susanto.

Click here for complete Thursday results

About Elm Vandevorst