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The final four
Date: 1/15/2021 4:29 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
After a terrific quarterfinals day, we are now down to the final four in each category. Isn’t it great to have high-level badminton back on our screens?

From a European angle, four entries are left standing and are still in the fight for the ultimate prize. First to book their spot in the semifinal was the French pair of Thom Gicquel/ Delphine Delrue in the mixed doubles, their best career result so far.
 
Up against the Denmark Open champions, Mark Lamsfuss/ Isabel Herttrich, whom they defeated in three games at the 2019 Azerbaijan International, they were able to deliver another strong performance. 

-It was a very stressful match with a lot of pressure. A good comeback in the second set allowed us to win the match, Giquel said clearly relieved. 

After holding their nerve in the opening game, not more than three points between them all the way, Gicquel/ Delrue found themselves 11-5 down at the interval of the second game. However, they dug deep against the Germans, mounting a comeback to win on the first match point, 21-18, 21-19. 

They now face All England champions, Praveen Jordan/ Melati Oktavianti in the semifinal. Interestingly, the young French duo defeated the number four in the world pair in Indonesia just last year. It was a close three-game match, can they do it again? 

Dominant Danes
Denmark has one chance each in the men’s and women’s singles after two strong showings from Viktor Axelsen and Mia Blichfeldt. 

Despite the pre-match anticipation of another close clash between Axelsen and Jonatan Christie, the opening game was heading in that direction before Axelsen scored stream of seven points in a row sealing a 21-14 win.
 
Expecting a response from the number six seed, the All England champion made a big statement by allowing his opponent only five points more, scoring a 21-5 game. However, it was clear Christie was not quite right today. 

-I kept calm and took one rally at a time. Jonatan Christie was struggling a little bit and I tried to take advantage of that, and I am happy I managed to just close it quick, Axelsen said with his usual focused look. 

This sets up a semifinal against the number one Indonesian, Anthony Ginting. Last time they met at the Indonesia Masters last year, Ginting won 22-20, 21-11, however, can anyone stop Axelsen when he is in this mood. 

10 months later
What a difference 10 months makes. Mia Blichfeldt, after defeating World Champion P.V. Sindhu, has not looked back and today overturned the unwelcome result she had at the All England Open. Playing Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan in the opening round in Birmingham, she lost in three games, however, 10 months on she is able to win in two solid games against the same opponent, this time in her back yard. 

Ongbamrungphan had the lead in both games, but each time the Dane was able to get into a rhythm and win 21-13, 21-18. She now has her biggest challenge yet in the semifinal against world number one, Tai Tzu Ying. 

Marin in the mirror
Spain’s Carolina Marin makes up the last of the European final four after overcoming another young Thai talent in Supanida Katethong. Curiously, having now played in each other’s countries, she managed to mirror her win with exactly the same scoreline as her win in Spain last year, 21-16, 21-16. Despite this, Marin wants more. 

-I am not really happy with my performance today because I felt my body a little bit stiff, so I did not make any variation in my attack. It was everything to her but tomorrow is going to be another day and I will be more ready for sure, Marin stated. 

Marin now seeks to reach her fourth final in a year when she faces An Se Young, a player she defeated on her way to the first of the four finals. 

For the full results and fixtures, click here

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