Danish men on course to end 10-year home drought


PETALING JAYA: World No. 3 Anders Antonsen led the way as four Danish shuttlers stormed into the men’s singles quarter-finals of the Denmark Open, brightening hopes of ending a 10-year title drought for the hosts.

Antonsen breezed past Thomas Rouxel of France 21-9,21-12 to set up an emotional last-eight clash with compatriot Jan O Jorgensen.

Jorgensen defeated another Frenchman Toma Junior Popov 21-16,10-21,21-14 to survive yet another day in the tournament that will bring down the curtain on his illustrious 15-year career.

Jorgensen, 32, who was the last Dane to win the tournament in 2010, could well be playing his last match as he is not expected to get past Antonsen, who is nine years his junior.

With one Dane already assured of a place in the last four, seventh seed Rasmus Gemke and veteran Hans-Kristian Vittinghus will be hoping to join the party.

Gemke, however, was made to sweat before overcoming Holland’s Mark Caljouw 17-21,21-15,21-14 in the other last-16 match on Thursday.

The world No. 17 should be a shoo-in for the semis as he is not expected to face any trouble beating little-known Max Weisskirchen of Germany in his next match.

The same can’t be said of Vittinghus, who has fitness problems.

The 34-year-old Vittinghus, who suffered cramps in his right leg, gritted his teeth to edge India’s Lakhsya Sen.

Vittinghus took 56 minutes to register a 15-21,21-7,21-17 win over the 2018 Asian Junior champion to mark his best-ever outing in his home Open.

“I was basically in no condition to play.

“For the last one and a half months, I’ve trained for one week, and I feel terrible right now, ” Vittinghus told the Badminton World Federation website.

“To prolong the adventure for one more day is so nice. For the first time in my career I’m in the quarter-finals here. I’ve never performed well here.”

It would take a monumental task for Vittinghus to further improve on his achievement as up next for him is the formidable sixth seed Kenta Nishimoto of Japan.

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