(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Malaysia Open: hard-fought wins and emotional comebacks
Date: 1/10/2023 4:19 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
On the first day of the tournament, many European stars have secured their spot for the next stage but winning doesn’t come easy.

The second week of the year has brought the first international tournament of 2023. The brand new year is considered a new beginning by many and we have seen and will see many players making important comebacks after struggling, be it with injuries or with their results in the second half of 2022.

Yesterday, in Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysia Open kicked off in what will be a busy and exciting month with the spotlight on the Asian stages before European players return home and many will prepare for the 2023 European Mixed Team Championships.

Reigning champion moves on to next stage
Reigning champion Viktor Axelsen faced Rasmus Gemke on his opening match. The fellow Dane did not make it easy for Axelsen, taking the match to three games with a win in the second game. However, the top seeded got to seal the win to advance to the next round. Another of Denmark’s top players, Mia Blichfeldt, won her first match in Malaysia. She got the victory in straight games against Kim Ga Eun, Korea.

With some European pairs already bidding adieu to the tournament in this first round, there is still hope for Europe in each of the different doubles events. Mark Lamsfuss/ Marvin Seidel, Gabriela Stoeva/ Stefani Stoeva, and Thom Gicquel/ Delphine Delrue, have advanced to the next stage. 

This is not all, as the Round of 32 will continue tomorrow with many players who have not yet had the chance to fight for the win in the first tournament of 2023. 

Fighting to come back
2022 was a difficult year for some of our European stars. Spain’s Carolina Marín made her big comeback after a serious injury at the European Championships in her home country and worked to be fully recovered through the year. Dane Anders Antonsen also struggled with an injury that kept him away from the circuit for quite some time.

In fact, the last time we saw the Dane competing was in the Japan Open back in August and in the last edition of this same tournament, the Malaysia Open 2022, he also had to withdraw due to injury. Today, facing China’s Weng Hong Yang, Antonsen made an exceptional comeback in what has been a deeply emotional victory for him.

“I am touched, getting on the court today was a struggle. It has certainly been difficult, and I had never ever believed in winning,” said Anders Antonsen to TV 2 SPORT. “It means an insane amount to me, this has been the hardest time of my life. This injury has been insanely hard to come back from and I don't even know if I'm back yet but this was a huge first step for me.”

The Danish player won this first round match 8-21, 22-20, 21-19, and will be facing Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting on Thursday.

Similarly, 2022 was not an easy year for Carolina Marin. The Spaniard talked openly about her struggles in a video published on her social media platforms. “There have been difficult moments in which I’ve had a constant pain in my knee. I woke up with pain, I was training with pain. I’ve had many doubts about my comeback. At the end of the year, I had no choice but to accept this pain, which has been hard for me because I didn’t want that pain in my body,” explained the European champion.

However, Marin talked about how things turned for the better at the end of last year. “Thanks to my team, we worked hard for it, and we finally did it. I finished 2022 without any pain in my knee, so I’m very happy. I’m looking forward to the 2023 season and I will have the attitude and the determination that has always defined me,” concluded the Spaniard, thanking her fans for the support.

Tomorrow, Marin will be facing an opponent that she knows very well, India’s Pusarla V. Sindhu. It will certainly be a match to watch. You can watch matches live here.
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