(Photo: Badminton Photo)
They had no clue what to do today
Date: 1/28/2021 3:45 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Day two saw players edge closer or even secure qualification out of the groups at the BWF World Tour Finals. Here are the major contenders. 

Bangkok, Thailand will almost certainly be a location that French pair Thom Gicquel/ Delphine Delrue will have fond memories of. The series of tournaments where they announced themselves on the world stage. 

Today they faced Malaysia’s Goh Soon Huat/ Lai Shevon Jemie, who in their only previous encounter scored a dominant two-game victory over them at the Malaysia Masters 2020. But today was very different. 

-I think we played very good today. We were very solid throughout the match and we gave nothing to them. We stuck to the plan all the way, so it was good, Gicquel explained. 

Gicquel/ Delrue were down in the opening exchanges but after the break were able to get into their game on won the opener 21-17. In the second game, they were able to fully express themselves and won 21-9.  

-I think they had no clue what to do today, so for us, it is very good, Giquel added with an air of confidence. 

In an attempt to describe how they were able to be so dominant this time around, Delrue states. 

-I think we put pressure on the net and Thom was ready in the flat game against Goh, so I think we attacked well and then in the defence we moved him a lot. 

Here we see a European duo really mix it up with the best Asian pairs. Gicquel went on to discuss how they are doing it so well. 

-When you play against Asian players we like to play with the net and a flat game. We knew that we are better, so we mostly focused on playing our game and not to think too much tactically. 

Their last match in the group is against Germany’s Mark Lamsfuss/ Isabel Herttrich, who narrowly lost in three games against Indonesia’s Hafiz Faizal/ Gloria Widjaja. 

-They play differently to Asian players. They do not play with a lot of speed but play the big court, so we have to be ready for that, but we look forward to playing against them, Delrue announced. 

The new and improved Axelsen
Before the pandemic caused a break down in tournaments, Axelsen grabbed himself an All England title. It is, therefore, a sight to behold that not only has the Dane been able to match that form, but improve upon it. Following his match against Lee Zii Jia, he could not be happier. 

-It is hard to be unhappy with my performance today. Last time I played Lee was the All England Open semifinal, and he was really close to winning. I was pretty lucky in the end actually. So, to win this big today I am really happy about it. I showed a really good level especially in the second game, and I managed to overcome the difficulties in the first game. 

Axelsen defeated Lee in just 32 minutes 21-15, 21-4, as opposed to 73 minutes in Birmingham, and touched on how he has been able to play at this high level in Thailand. 

-I am a different player now. I have had time to prepare. I have played some good matches these past two weeks, so I have proved to myself that I can play at this level. My body felt good today, I moved freely and I think that was important too. 

Tomorrow Axelsen plays Chou Tien Chen to see who tops the group, the player who has come closest to him in recent weeks. 

For the full results and fixtures, click here

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