LONDON GPG 2013 SF – More Danish success

Pedersen and Rytter-Juhl came through a tough match against Singapore, whilst Boe/Mogensen had an easier run against their Indonesian opposition. Vittinghus was made to work hard however, as compatriot Axelsen […]

Pedersen and Rytter-Juhl came through a tough match against Singapore, whilst Boe/Mogensen had an easier run against their Indonesian opposition. Vittinghus was made to work hard however, as compatriot Axelsen missed out on a finals spot.

By Michael Burke, Badzine Correspondent, live from London.  Photos: Raphael Sachetat for Badmintonphoto (live).

Danes Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter-Juhl (pictured left) continued a strong Danish showing in London, but were pushed harder than their rankings would have predicted.

Singaporeans Fu Mingtian and Vanessa Neo (pictured right) played a strong game as they forced extra points in the first game as the Danes had to save game point before they came through to win.

The second end saw a mini recovery with some incredible net returns by the Singaporeans to give the Danes some nervous moments as they tried to take match point, but Pedersen / Rytter-Juhl took the game 21-19.

Commenting about the closeness of the game, Rytter-Juhl said, “We’re just happy to get the win. It was very close there at the end, they played very well. Our game was not so good but we kept fighting, if we didn’t they would have won for sure.”

Not having played before they spoke of their game plan against the Singaporeans, “We tried to not play too fast or too flat, as they are a lot smaller than us, so if we missed the shot even a little bit we were behind straight away.

“This tournament is good to get matches before our big target, the Denmark Open. It’s nice to have a Gold so close to home and always good to play in England, so yeah, we’ve got what we came for now we’re in the final, even with the pressure of being first seeds. We just have to wait to find out who we play tomorrow.”

One of the showcase matches of the day didn’t disappoint as Viktor Axelsen and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (pictured left) threw all into an intense Danish rivalry. Both players took time to play themselves in but Vittinghus got the better of the early exchanges, leaving the younger Dane constantly playing catch-up.

Ultimately, Hans-Kristian appeared to have a greater desire to win, diving full length to retrieve shots, as Axelsen often struggled to hit a winner. The score line was close, and went the way of their world rankings, as Vittinghus came through 21-19 21-18.

Speaking after his defeat, Axelsen said, “I feel I was not playing at my best level today as I have done previous days.  I was still a bit tired and Hans played well in most parts of the game. I was starting to get back in the sets but I didn’t really feel that comfortable today, but that’s how it is.

“We know each other so well so it’s always tough.  We know where to go and which shots are good.”

Commenting on the rivalry, Vittinghus said, “We haven’t played against each other in an international competition since 2011, but we always have close battles in training, we know each other so well. Viktor is playing at a high level and I think today, both of us seemed pretty nervous. I had trouble controlling my nerves at the beginning of both games, but the end the nerves really showed on my end.”

Commenting on his year, HK said, “To be honest, I feel like 2013 has been a pretty bad year for me. I haven’t been happy with my performances. I had a pretty stable ranking, around 16, and I’m down to the twenties now because I haven’t performed as I would’ve like to. But I think the last couple of months, since the World Championships, I’ve really improved my game.”

On his potential opponents in the final, “I would prefer to play Rajiv, as it will be a lot more fun because there is going to be a buzzing crowd. I’m sure if I play the Chinese guy [Tian Houwei] I will have the support, but it’s always better when an English player is playing. I have a good record with Raj over the last couple of times I’ve faced him, and that’s good to have when you have an opponent and you know you won the last time, but it’s going to be tough no matter who of the two guys I meet.”

London is clearly a target for the Dane, as he continued, “This is very important for me. As I said before, I haven’t really performed as I would like to, and I have to reach top 24 to qualify for the World Championships next year.  This tournament is a brilliant opportunity to get some points and some good matches. It’s not training.  I want to win here as badly as I want to win anywhere.”

In the last match of the session, Denmark made it three final spots from as many opportunities as Mathias Boe / Carsten Mogensen (pictured right) came through convincingly against Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pankaryanira / Ade Yusuf in straight games.

Arya Pankaryanira had struggled in the previous rounds with service faults and today was no different, as he got very frustrated with the calls. Boe himself also faulted, but the Danes were just too strong, letting nothing past in mid court with a brick wall defence.

Speaking afterwards, Mogensen spoke about their tournament plans, “Of course we’re happy to reach the final, but our goal was to win so we’re not happy yet.”

Asked about their current form and their upcoming home tournament, he said, “The Danish Open is the biggest tournament of the calendar for us. We’re playing pretty well. This is the tournament before so it’s nice to get a chance to practice a few things before then.”

The full results for the day can be found here


About Michael Burke