(Photo: Badminton Photo)
We have an Axelsen-Antonsen final and Marin confident of treble
Date: 1/30/2021 4:42 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
We are now down to the final matchups at the BWF World Tour Finals. Who will prevail and win the top prize? 

After a month of play in Thailand, the players left standing fought valiantly today in the semifinals for the right to have a final showdown to win the end of season crown. 

In the longest match on court today, Anders Antonsen had to get through an 80-minute marathon against Wang Tzu Wei, overturning a loss against him in the group stages just a day before. 

-I fought hard. He’s a tricky opponent who gets a lot of shuttles back. 

Antonsen managed to secure the well-fought opening game, only for Wang to ramp up the attack significantly, forcing a decider. He did not let Wang get away from him and went into the change of ends 11-9 up. Antonsen then shot away after the break to 14-9. Wang rallied hard and pulled it back to within one point at 17-16, but then the Dane reacted well to muster up a sprint finish towards 21-16. 

Just a short while later, Viktor Axelsen booked his spot in yet another final, opening up the chance of a treble in Thailand. Defeating Chou Tien Chen in straight games, he is really enjoying his badminton in these conditions. 

Chou caused the tall Dane some problems in the opening game, with several slow drops forcing him to stoop low, but in the end, his court coverage and steep shots booked a spot in the final with a 21-16, 21-9 win. 

Now with an all-Danish final, Antonsen shared how he will prepare for tomorrow’s final. 

-I will go home now and get some massage and be in cold and hot bathtubs. So, I will recover and watch Viktor’s match in the evening and figure out a game plan. 

It is a while since the two have played at a tournament. The last time was at the Denmark Open in 2019, which Axelsen took. Overall, their head to head is 3-2 in Axelsen’s favour, but Antonsen vows to try and be the one who can topple Axelsen in Thailand. 

-Having not played much to be in a final again I am happy. I am looking forward to tomorrow, it will be a tough match. So, I am happy, but I am not satisfied yet. 

Marin eyes the treble
Marin made quick work of her Thai opponent today, Pornpawee Chochuwong, winning 21-13, 21-13. 

-I was really prepared for this game and was focused on every point. I showed the determination on court that I want to win today, and I did! So I am really happy with my performance. 

The Spaniard now will face Tai Tzu Ying in the final for the third time in a row, but pointed out why she is particularly confident going into this one. 

-She’s playing good, but I think it is tough for her because she has already lost more games and I think she’s looking a bit tired.

Reflecting on the return of badminton in Thailand, Marin admits it’s been exhausting but a really good experience for her. 

-All the players are tired. We have been here for one month already. Playing three tournaments in a row is tough. Tai Tzu Ying and I will play three finals in a row, so of course, for everyone it is tough. Looking forward to one more final tomorrow. 

The rising stars
A lot has been written about these two pairs from England and France. They have been the eye-catching surprises packages, scoring a number of ‘giant-killing’ wins in their debut appearances on this stage. 

England’s Ben Lane/ Sean Vendy came up just short against the in-form Lee Yang/ Wang Chi-Lin today, despite grabbing the initiative and leading the way in each game. On both occasions, when the pressure was raised, the more experienced Lee/ Wang were able to get over the line and win 22-20, 21-17.
-We are learning as much as possible every time we get on court against these top guys because at the end of the day that’s where we want to be. We need to be beating them in one or two years. 

France may have found the top contenders for the mixed doubles gold at the European Championships this year after the performances witnessed this month. 

Thom Gicquel/ Delphine Delrue, after winning all of their group matches, gave it their all against the home favourites, Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapsiree Taerattanachai today. However, it was not enough. They were never really in it in the first game but built a 17-14 lead in the second. It looked certain to go to three games, but the Thai pair came back aggressively and surged to 21. 

-We put pressure on them, but we did not take our chances. It was difficult after the break because they came and attacked more than us. 

Asking what is next for the pair after such a memorable few weeks. They explained that it will be resting and spending some time with family as they will have to be quarantined for a week when they arrive back home. 

-We have one week to rest now and then we will be preparing for the European Mixed Team Championships. 

For the full results and finals day fixtures, click here

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