FRENCH OPEN 2016 R16 – Veterans prevail

Once more Lee Hyun Il proved to be one of the biggest threats in men’s singles, sweeping aside Viktor Axelsen for the second week in a row, while two more […]

Once more Lee Hyun Il proved to be one of the biggest threats in men’s singles, sweeping aside Viktor Axelsen for the second week in a row, while two more Rio bronze medallists, Landgridge/Ellis, bowed to an extremely motivated Japanese pair of Takeshi Kamura/Sonoda at the .

By Tarek Hafi, Badzine Correspondent live in Paris.  Photos: Badmintonphoto (live)

The comeback

He might have been out from the national team since London, but despite hitting thirty-six years old, Lee Hyun Il can still provide the finest badminton of all on a badminton court. Elegant and lethal as always, the veteran shut down all hope for Viktor Axelsen (pictured)and himself reached the  quarter-final of a tournament for the second time in as many weeks.

Despite an extremely hard-fought first game, the Dane did not manage to put his anger aside and intead let his inner demons spoil the party for him: “I am extremely disappointed, he played way too well for me and I don’t know what else to add,” confessed the young Dane, obviously in shock after his loss.

Meanwhile, Lee Hyun Il (pictured) kept his usual calm, the Korean kept sending persuasive shots towards his opponent that let the 22-year-old Dane numb.

I sort of had the confidence that if I could bring him to three games, I’d be able to win, but after I won the opening game, he looked unfocussed and from there I was able to finish the match easily,” replied the former world number one.

22-20, 21-12 was sufficent to end the match and leave the Korean to meet Paris’s favourite Chou Tien Chen, former winner in Paris and the crowd’s obvious choice.

I have not met him recently, but I guess I’ll just go on court and try to go as far as I can,” concluded the ever calm Lee Hyun Il, who is vying to reach his third straight Superseries semi-final, after being defeated by compatriot Son Wan Ho in the final four both at the Korea Open, and last week in Denmark.

In fact, all three players over the age of 36 prevailed on Thursday in Paris.  Mathias Boe made it through in straight games as he and Carsten Mogensen beat out Chen/Wang of Chinese Taipei.  Their compatriot Joachim Fischer Nielsen is not content with have bettered his own record last week as the oldest Superseries champion in history.  He and Christinna Pedersen needed only half an hour to see off Tabeling/Seinen of the Netherlands.

More bronze medallists out

They were, like Axelsen, one of the surprises in Rio, with a bronze medal from the most prestigious events of all.  Still the French crowd had to say an early goodbye to Marcus Ellis and Chris Landgridge (pictured) after they were sent packing in the second round at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin.

Despite a fair fight, the English pair had to surrender in front of an all-giving Japanese pair of Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda (pictured right). The sixty-eight minute battle showed all kind of tension, as both pairs raised their game to their best.

The vociferous Japanese took the final advantage with an impressive ability to smash their hearts out in all possible occasions. Dominant in the deciding game, the Japanese duo crushed all hopes to have a British representative in the quarter-finals as every player from north of the Channel left the draw earlier than expected.

Men’s doubles was also one of three events to lose two seeds on Day 3 of the French Open.  Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo have yet to impress since Gideon returned from a 4-month hiatus following their second Superseries title, in Australia.  The Indonesians lost to Lee Jhe-Huei / Lee Yang (pictured bottom) of Chinese Taipei.  A new pairing of their compatriots Mohammad Ahsan and Berry Angriawan was responsible for the exit of 3rd-seeded Danes Mads Conrad-Petersen / Mads Pieler Kolding.

Click here for complete Thursday results

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