(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Axelsen and Marin one step away from glory
Date: 1/16/2021 4:42 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The semifinals of the Thailand Open have been played in Bangkok today and the finals are set. Here is what happened.

It was a historic run for the young French mixed doubles partnership of Thom Gicquel/ Delphine Delrue, reaching this stage of a World Tour Super 1000 event for the first time but they looked right at home. Playing the All England champions and number two seeds, Praveen Jordan/ Melati Oktavianti, despite having defeated them at the Indonesia Masters, they were the underdogs. 

After a tight start, the experienced Indonesians pulled away and took the opening game 21-16. Gicquel/ Delrue reacted in a very positive way and were up 11-5 in the second, however, always aware of the threat on the other side of the net. A key moment came at 17-14 when Jordan/ Oktavianti were able to combine well and in a blink of an eye went 18-17 up. On the third attempt, Jordan/ Oktavianti secured the win. 

-I think this week is a good result, but right now we are disappointed because we think that we had a chance to win this match. It is a good tournament back for us, Delrue states. 

-After 10 months we are quite happy about the week, Gicquel adds with a smile.

Jordan/ Oktavianti secured their place in a repeat of the All England final against the number one seeds from Thailand, Dechapol Puavaranukroh/ Sapsiree Taerattanachai. Will playing on a home court make the difference this time around? 

Marin in another final
Following solid two-game victories over their Thai opponents yesterday, An Se Young and Carolina Marin met again since their clash one whole year ago at the Indonesia Masters. Marin was a convincing winner then, but was not overly happy with her performance yesterday, while An scored an impressive victory over double Thailand Open champion, Ratchanok Intanon. 

Marin, once ahead in the first game, never gave up the lead. On five occasions, the 19-year-old Korean drew level, but Marin was not letting her past and took the game 21-18. Mid-way through the second game, An briefly held the lead, but this was quickly reversed and a determined Marin surged towards the win, finishing the match 21-18, 21-16.  

-Today I feel much happier than yesterday for sure. I think I just showed a really good performance. She [An Se Young] is playing really good at the moment and becoming a good player for the future. I was really focused on what had to do on court for every point.  

Heartbreak for Blichfeldt
Blichfeldt has had a terrific run in Bangkok but faced the unenviable task of playing the world number one, Tai Tzu Ying. The first game was one-way traffic in favour of Tai. With it all to do, Blichfeldt showed the same grit she has all week and led most of the way and even reached 20-16. 

Facing the hardest point in the sport, the game point, Tai survived five-game of them and then converted the win with just one match point of her own. After admitting she was not ready for the first game, Blichfeldt explains the second game. 

-I tried to fight my way back in but then suddenly I lost everything on the floor, which was just bad, Blichfeldt said disappointed. 

-After I return to the hotel, have a shower and see the physio, I think I will be really satisfied with my performance this week. I have defeated some good players and I can take that with me to the next tournament, Blichfelt reflects.

Tai Tzu Ying will face Carolina Marin in the final in what will be match number 16 for them and a repeat of the All England Open semifinal last year, which went to Tai after a three-game battle. 

Axelsen delivers the goods
In a repeat a big match up a year ago in the Indonesia Masters semifinal, Viktor Axelsen took on Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting. In that encounter, Ginting took the opening game in a tight battle. This time it was Axelsen who roared in celebration with his arm aloft when winning 21-19. 

Ginting then found his rhythm and key shots in the second, forcing a decider. Ginting led 11-7 at the change of ends, but when it mattered most, Axelsen was able to up his game and flip the second game score and win 21-13. 

Axelsen will now face Ng Ka Long who knocked out Chou Tien Chen in the other semifinal. Axelsen has faced Ng eight times before and has not dropped a single game to him in a clean record. The prospect for another title returning to Denmark looks strong on paper. 

For the full results and fixtures, click here.

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