Day 6 at the London Olympics promised at lot from a European perspective with five athletes or pairs left in the tournament at the beginning of the day. By 6.30pm only Boe and Mogensen remained in contention for a medal in what was a miserable day for Europe.
All indicators suggested that day 6 might turn out to be one of the greatest days in European badminton Olympic history as Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen got Danish and European proceedings underway with a magical display against Fang and Lee from Taipai.
The game was always going to be a potential banana skin for the All England Champions as the Taipai pair had defeated them three times in the past. The Taipai pair got off to a winning start by taking the first point of the match but that was as good as it got in game one as the Danes came storming back to win the opener 21-16.
The second game started just as the first with Fang and Lee taking the opening point but just as in the first, Boe and Mogensen controlled long passages of the play and eventually ran out 21-18 winners in the second game.
"We knew they would be tricky to play against as they have beaten us 3 times and this match would be tough but we tried to stay focused on each point and stay calm" said Boe.
When asked about their goal for the tournament Mathias Boe was defiant when saying "Our goal for the Olympics was to come here and play the badminton we know we can do, play to our level and we have and now we are in the running for a medal, we will do our very best to play to our top level as we will need to"
Once again the support in the Wembley Arena has been amazing for all players and Boe was quick to point out the value the home European support is to them on court. "There is a lot of support from Denmark, we could hear them shouting to us in Danish which is very nice and it’s a packed stadium, the British people are enjoying the badminton and it’s an honour to be here and also great to have them behind us"
The victory for Boe and Mogensen should have been the catalyst to spur the remaining European players on but with each match things just went from bad to worse.
Joachim Fischer and Christinna Perdersen lost out in an epic match against Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlai. At one game each the Chinese looked out of sight but point by point the Danes pulled them back to eventually tie at 19-19. What happened next will haunt Fischer for many days to come as he served into the net at the most crucial of times. Pedersen then returned into the net on the match point in what was a disappointing end for the Danes loosing 17-21 21-17 21-19.
The stage was then set for the introduction of Denmark’s great singles players Tine Baun and Peter Gade. Baun was up first and showed some signs of the great player she is but faced an uphill battle after loosing the opening game 21-15. Baun had four game points in the second game when the game turned on its head.
A much disputed line call that went in favour of her opponent Saina Nehwal distracted the normally ultra focused Dane and seizing the moment the Indian took 6 points in a row to seal the match 22-20. “The bad line call happened at a critical time. I feel very bad. Yes, it happens sometimes but not always at the crucial moments that could have influenced the outcome of the match”
Peter Gade didn’t fare any better in his match against Chen Long. The Chinese third seed was an easy winner 21-16 21-13 bringing a curtain down on the amazing Olympic career of Gade.
The final match with European interest involved the reinstated Russian women’s doubles pair of Vislova and Sorokina. Many expected the Russians to play a bit part in their match against second seeds Zhao Yunlei and Tian Qing. The Russians put up a brave fight in the opening game only loosing 21-19 but with the momentum on their side the Chinese cruised in the second game to win 21-6.
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Article by Mark Phelan (Live in London)