(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Popov and the Christophersens make great strides
Date: 3/27/2021 5:03 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
While Toma Junior Popov, Line Christophersen, and Mads Christophersen continued to impress by defeating higher-ranked players, the Stoeva sisters maintained their perfect record against the current European Games champions Selena Piek/ Cheryl Seinen.

Having already beaten top Indian players Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap in the previous rounds, Popov faced the three-time world junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn today. He took some time to get going in the match, but won the opener 21-17. The following games were one-way traffic. While the Thai athlete ran away with the second game 21-9, Popov turned the tables in the third. He always looked in control as he sealed the match 21-11 in 65 minutes. It was a very impressive performance by the French athlete in his first encounter against Vitidsarn. 

The final hurdle
Popov will have to overcome Mads Christophersen in tomorrow’s final. After dropping a close first game, the Dane won the second before running away with the third. He eventually managed to defeat his compatriot Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus, winning 20-22, 21-13, 21-12.

The 22-year-old can take confidence from his sole victory against Christophersen, way back in 2018. Can he become the first-ever home player to win the singles crown at Orleans Masters? 

Mixed doubles thrillers
The Danish pairs of Niclas Nøhr/ Amalie Magelund and Mathias Christiansen/ Alexandra Bøje faced a stiff challenge from unseeded opponents, before finally prevailing in three games. Up 21-20 in the second game, Nøhr/ Magelund failed to convert the match point as Dhruv Kapila/ Ashwini Ponnappa forced the decider. The Danes had an easy win in the end: 21-9, 21-23, 21-7. On the other hand, the seventh seeds had their hands full against the Indonesian qualifiers. They took 59 minutes to emerge victorious 21-13, 18-21, 21-16, setting up an all-Danish final. 

Another good day out for Line 
The rising Danish star Line Christophersen defeated the former top player Saina Nehwal 21-17, 21-17 in just 28 minutes. It is noteworthy that this was her longest match in the tournament so far! She can expect a tougher match in the final as she faces the world number 13. 

In one of the longest women’s singles match in recent memory, Busanan Ongbamrungphan got the better of in-form top seed Pornpawee Chochuwong. There were long drawn-out rallies as the senior player battled her way through in the second game, after dropping the opener. Up 14-9 in the third, the All England finalist looked set to make a consecutive final. However, her opponent dug deep to claim seven straight points and eventually won 18-21, 21-15, 21-18.  

Top two seeds in women’s doubles
In a repeat of Swiss Open semifinal, Jongkolphan Kititharakul/ Rawinda Prajongjai will seek to reverse the result as they take on Gabriela Stoeva/ Stefani Stoeva. The Thai pair hasn’t won a title since the Chinese Taipei Open in 2019. In contrast, the Steova sisters had picked up the trophy in at the SaarLorLux Open last year. In today’s semifinal, they beat Piek/ Seinen 10-21, 21-14, 21-9.
Qualifiers vs seeds
The qualifiers Krishna Prasad Garaga/ Vishnu Vardhan Goud Panjala achieved their biggest result by reaching a Super 100 final. They beat Callum Hemming/ Steven Stallwood 21-17, 21-17. Elsewhere, Ben Lane/ Sean Vendy ensured English representation on finals day. They fought back against another qualifying pair Sabar Karyaman Gutama/ Moh Reza Pahlevi Isfahani to win 10-21, 21-16, 21-13. Overall, it will be an interesting men’s doubles clash tomorrow.

Watch Orléans Masters via Badminton Live.
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