Antonsen serves warning to rivals after gem of a home win


PETALING JAYA: World No. 3 Anders Antonsen sent a warning to his rivals including Lee Zii Jia that he is in menacing form ahead of the Asia leg showdown in three months’ time.

The 23-year-old defeated compatriot and childhood pal Rasmus Gemke 18-21, 21-19, 21-12 in an epic Denmark Open final that lasted 74 minutes in Odense on Sunday. The win makes him the first home shuttler to be crowned men’s singles champion in a decade.

Although his victory was in the absence of some of the sport’s biggest names such as Japanese world No. 1 Kento Momota, fellow Dane Viktor Axelsen, reigning Olympic champion Chen Long of China and Indonesia’s Anthony Ginting, Antonsen still made a statement that he has not lost his touch since reaching the All-England semi-finals in March.

En route to the final, Antonsen knocked out world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen 21-17, 21-15 in the last four. The Taiwanese had beaten him seven times in eight meetings prior to their latest duel.

The final against world No. 17 Gemke was as good as it got with both players limping out of the arena due to cramps after the match.

Antonsen did not even have the energy to attend the official press conference but later spoke to a local television channel after his condition got better.

“It feels amazing. This has to be one of the three biggest feats of my career,” said Antonsen, who won the 2019 Indonesian Masters beating Momota and finishing runner-up to the Japanese at last year’s World Championships in Basel, Switzerland.

Antonsen also revealed his frustration about not being able to enjoy his title-winning moments due to cramps.

“It was a bit of a struggle. The cramps set in different parts, in the legs, upper body and arms,” said Antonsen.

“I spent most of my time in the second game, third game and even after the battle worrying about it.

“It’s very unfortunate because I wanted to enjoy what I’ve achieved inside the arena.”

The women’s crown went to Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara after she beat Spaniard Carolina Marin 21-19, 21-17 to end an almost two-year title drought.

Okuhara, who last won the Hong Kong Open in November 2018, had made it to seven finals but without success.

In the mixed doubles, Mark Lamsfuss-Isabel Herttrich stunned England’s Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock to become the first Germans to win at the Denmark Open after 49 years.

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