The most stunning and well-known story from the Men’s Division of the Denmark Open Badminton 2022, which took place from October 18 to 23 in Odense, was without a doubt Loh Kean Yew’s victory over Viktor Axelsen in the quarterfinals of the competition.
The tournament was held in Denmark. Not only did the match put an end to Axelsen’s incredible winning streak of 39 matches, but it also resulted in Loh’s victory over the Danish player on his home court. This result put an end to Axelsen’s hopes of achieving a winning streak of 40 matches and reclaiming the championship title in Denmark.
The Badminton World Federation World Tour series finally resumed play, starting with the Super 750 Denmark Open, after a lengthy layoff that lasted nearly two months. The break was due to the fact that the series had been suspended for an extended period of time. Only one of the top four seeded players at the 2021 Denmark Open, Lee Zhi Jia, was able to advance to the semifinals of the tournament.
The other three were Viktor Axelsen (number one), Kento Momota (number two), and Anders Antonsen (number three). Due to injuries sustained during training, the young Danish player Antonsen, who is now rated number two in the World Badminton Rankings, withdrew from the competition prior to its start. This gave his first match opponent, Shi Yuqii, the opportunity to win by walkover.
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In the middle of October, former World Number One player Momota also declared that he will not be participating in the competition. After being involved in a car accident in Indonesia and contracting the COVID-19 virus in 2020, Momota had a difficult time getting back into the same physical condition that delivered him 11 titles during the Badminton 2019 season.
A particularly crushing blow to his self-assurance was sent to him when he was eliminated in the preliminary round of competition during the Badminton Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. He had been carrying the enormous weight of the attention and hopes of his fellow Japanese supporters.
Momota has one title to her name after the first three quarters of the 2022 Badminton World Federation season, however she has fallen to number nine in the world rankings. Fans of Momota may have to wait a while before they get to witness their favorite player compete once more, given that he has already said he would not compete in the French Open, which will take place at the end of the month.
If one of the seeded players drops out of the Denmark Open, they will suffer significant point losses, which will have an impact on their World Rankings as well as their chances of making it to the Badminton World Federation World Tour Finals in Guangzhou, China.
Following the decisive victory over Axelsen, Loh will now face Jia in the semifinals of the competition. In the first game, Loh soon acquired a comfortable lead of five points because to his accurate judgment of the shuttle landing. However, Jia plainly had the upper hand with his athletic body due to the fact that he won the game. The opponent from Malaysia caught up, tying the score at 8-all, and the game continued to be a tight contest beyond that point.
The fast-paced play left Loh weary, and he started to get caught up in Jia’s smart backhand strokes during the game’s final four serves. As a result, Loh was unable to retake the lead and the game ended in a tie. After losing the first set 21-18, game two was an even tougher fight for Loh, but Jia did not show any symptoms of exhaustion throughout the match. In spite of the fact that he forced himself to a fifth successive point, he was ultimately unsuccessful because he lacked both endurance and experience. The final score of the second match was 21-15, and Jia’s victory allowed him to go to the next round of competition, where he now has the opportunity to capture his third championship title of the season.
Kodai Naraoka and Shi Yuqi competed against one another in the other match of the semifinals. Yuqi, a Chinese player who had once held the No. 2 spot in the world rankings, was competing in only his second competition since the Chinese national team had suspended him for ten months. It was widely assumed that the internal ban was a punishment imposed on him as a result of the unsportsmanlike behavior he displayed during the Thomas Cup in 2020. At the 20-5 point in their match, Yuqi decided to throw in the towel against Kento Momota.
Following the conclusion of the match, Yuqi made a post on social media in which he stated that the match did not count as a “loss” in the strict sense of the word because he had quit playing before Momota had won his 21st point. Anger and criticism were sparked as a result of the controversy; while Yuqi attributed his poor performance on injuries, Momota was also in the midst of recovering from a serious car accident at the time.
On the other hand, Kodai Naraoka was a rising star from Japan who didn’t start winning Badminton World Federation World Tour titles until the 2022 season. He was a newcomer to the scene. In the quarterfinals, he had a dominating victory over Lakshya Sen, who had finished as the runner-up in the All Englands Badminton Open 2022.
Following the first eight serves, Naraoka was behind by seven points and took a timeout for a medical emergency. He was defeated in the first game by a score of 15-21, but he bounced back to win the second game by a score of 21-9. In the third game, there was a frantic grapple that finally ended in a deuce score of 22-24, with Yuqi earning the opportunity to win the match.
When Jia faced Yuqi in the championship match, she found it difficult to maintain her lead throughout the first game. Jia appeared to have a higher level of athleticism than Yuqi, as seen by his ability to recover opportunity shots from Yuqi with almost superhuman speed. Both players are around the same height. However, by the time Yuqi served his 24th ball, he had caught up and tied the game at 12 all. He took great care in setting up his game, hitting the shuttle into unexpected areas on Jia’s side of the court. Toss in the towel! Kills! Jia was unable to successfully transition from defense to offense, and as a result, they lost the opening game 21-18.
However, Yuqi was unable to replicate the same dexterous strategies in the game that followed. Jia maintained their lead throughout the match, even expanding it to an insurmountable 8-1 advantage at one point. Despite the fact that the Chinese player scored five points in a row in the second half, it was not enough for him to win the game. Jia won the match by a score of 16-21. Yuqi made a significant recovery in the third match, seeming significantly more concentrated than in the second game.
He was reliable while receiving, and the long rallies did not appear to tire him out as much as they may have other players. After missing seven consecutive serves in a row and falling nine points behind in the game, Jia’s comeback was no longer possible. Yuqi prevailed in the end, winning the final game by a score of 21-12 as well as the championship match to take home his first trophy of the 2022 campaign.
Following the conclusion of the Denmark Open Badminton, the next stop on the Badminton World Federation Super series will be the Super 750 French Open, which will take place on October 25 at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris. Due to the fact that this competition will take place in the same site as the forthcoming Summer Olympics in Paris in 2024, it will garner interest from around the world.
Axelsen, Andersen, Jia, and Chou Tien Chen, all of whom are from Taiwan, are the players who have been given the highest seeds for the men’s singles competition in this tournament. Because of the close proximity of the two Super 750 tournaments, the outcome of the French Open will be heavily influenced by how effectively each player is able to recuperate from their previous competitions and any injuries they may have sustained.
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