(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Top seeds pushed all the way
Date: 11/4/2020 6:00 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
Seven of the eight seeds made it to the quarterfinals in the men’s singles. The only upset was the eighth seed Jacobo Fernandez. He ran out of ideas when facing an inspired performance by Callum Smith, 21-18, 22-20. Three other seeds were on the brink of elimination but battled their way through to the next round.

In perhaps the match of the tournament so far, Christopher Vittoriani gave it his all to overcome the second seed Mads Juel Moller. However, it was not enough. The 69-minute contest was a rollercoaster ride with both players scoring multiple successive points. In the battle of two 17-year-olds, Vittoriani got a better start but Moller saved three game points to claim the opener. In the second game, it was Vittoriani’s turn to return the favour. Down 15-19, he scored six straight points to force a decider. 

- I tried to stay focused on the rallies and play my game. I tried not to think about the second game. I handled it well. 

- Christopher is a really tough opponent. We know each other very well and it is always tough to play someone from your own team. I am happy with the victory. 

It was a battle of wills as rallies got progressively longer and physically taxing. With momentum rapidly shifting, the score became 16-16. The second seed saved the all-important match point. He finally converted on his fourth match point 22-20, 19-21, 25-23. It could not have been any closer. 

- When I won the last rally, it didn’t really sink in. I am proud of my performance. I was up in the second game but blew away the lead. I came back stronger. 

Oldorff holds off Lanier’s challenge
As one of the most important players in France’s yet another successful team campaign, Alex Lanier ran the third seed Joakim Oldorff close. Having played some tough matches in the tournament, the 15-year-old probably ran out of steam. 

It looked promising for Lanier when he led 20-15 and 21-20 in the opener. However, the Finnish athlete saved all the six game points to win 23-21. Building on the first game, he led throughout the second. 

- I am extremely happy. I knew from the beginning that Alex Lanier is a really good player and I prepared well for the match. It was enough this time. 

In one last-ditch effort, his opponent did well to draw close at 19-20 but Oldorff was fifth-time lucky. 

- I was a little bit worried. In such a situation, you have to trust your own game. That’s the way to win.

He will be up against the fifth seed Georgii Lebedev tomorrow.

- Finnish sauna is the best way to prepare!

Gaudin through to the quarterfinals
The seventh seed Yanis Gaudin has had a rusty start to his campaign. Nevertheless, he followed his compatriot Christo Popov to the quarterfinals as he overcame the challenge of Igor Pushkarev. Even though Gaudin was clearly not at his best, he did just enough to keep his nose in front the whole time. It took him 42 minutes to cross the line, albeit with a close scoreline 22-20, 21-19.

- I am very proud to finish this match in two games because I could not play the way I wanted to. I didn’t take the net and lifted too much. My opponent had a good attack, so I was always in the defense. 

Denmark vs France again
In the two Denmark vs France contests, the second seed Mads Juel Moller faces Yanis Gaudin while Magnus Johannesen takes on the top seed Christo Popov tomorrow. 

- I am very excited about the quarterfinal tomorrow but I need to take some rest before that, Gaudin said.

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