Photo credit: Tang Shi
Mixed Danish morning: We once thought we were Beckham and Ronaldo
The Danish fans who got up at 4:00 AM their time to follow their shuttlers on TV witnessed a mixed Danish start of the day.
The World Championship runners-up from 2013, Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, went on court with a 6-0 head-to-head lead against Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi-Lin from Chinese Taipei and their world ranking 3 vs. 15 also made the Danes favorites in today’s match. But the Asians weren’t interested in giving the Danes an easy match.
On the contrary Chen and Wang were very ready from first point and played much faster than their opponents. The Danes were under pressure in a first game, which was extremely close with a maximum lead of just 3 points, and on their second game point the Chinese Taipei pair took the first game 21-19.
Rocket start didn’t help
Boe and Mogensen seemed off to a rocket start in second game and quickly gained a 4-0 lead but from this moment Chen and Wang controlled absolutely everything. Few minutes later it was 11-6 for the Asians, who didn’t look back anymore. They managed to frustrate the Danes with crazy shots, which seemed to stress them a lot. Boe and Mogensen had nothing to fight back with and lost 21-10 in a match they are not very happy about, however they were very realistic.
“We are not where we are supposed to be and we also knew that before we started. They are currently better than us and can play much faster. They were just good today,” the Danish pair said to Danish TV after the match.
“At previous championships we have sometimes thought we were Beckham and Ronaldo but placed the shuttle into the restaurant anyway” Mogensen added as an expression to symbolize that they have sometimes not been able to keep the shuttle inside the court.
Still hungry for more
The Danes stated that they were still hungry for more, but they just aren’t at the level they know they can play at. They lose more than they are used to and even at training it hasn’t been impressive either, according to Boe. Asked if they still believed in the future he stated: “For sure! Otherwise we should be doing something else.”
Today’s exit from third round was one step back compared to the World Championships in Glasgow 2017. The World Championships in Nanjing is the first of its kind for Chen Hung Ling and Wang Chi-Lin who will be up against either Japanese or Indonesian opponents in the quarterfinal tomorrow.
Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin vs. Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen
Total points: 71
Length of match: 37 minutes
Points per minute: 1.92
Seconds per point: 31.27 sec
Close battle for the reigning champion
Now it was up to Denmark’s no. 1 men’s single, Viktor Axelsen, to give the Danish fans something to smile about again. He was up against Ng Ka Long Angus from Hong Kong against whom he had a comfortable lead of 5-0 before today’s match, all won in straight games.
It took the two shuttlers 50 minutes to deliver their closest and also longest match ever. Axelsen had a small lead all the way through first game up to 19-19 where one could suddenly see a first game win for Ka Long. But the Dane took the following two points bagging the game 21-19.
Second game was just as exciting and Ka Long didn’t make it very smooth for the reigning World Champion today. The two players followed each other in the scoring all the way but at the end it was the Danish fans who could celebrate another two games win for their favorite as Viktor Axelsen won 21-18. Close but no cigar for Ng Ka Long Angus but maybe next time will be his time.
It is publicly known that Viktor Axelsen demands a lot from himself but he wasn’t satisfied with his own level today.
“I’m struggling today. I really have to step up tomorrow, otherwise I may be out,” he said to Danish TV afterwards.
He will face the winner of Chen Long and Kenta Nishimoto, a match he believes could be much closer than what most people may expect. Still most people expect Chen Long to win and if this happens to be the case, the Dane must remember that the Chinese is not known for playing the corners. He’s a runner, which he has also proven by playing two of the slowest matches this week if you look at the average duration of each played point.
Viktor Axelsen vs. Ng Ka Long Angus
Total points: 79
Length of match: 50 minutes
Points per minute: 1.58
Seconds per point: 37.97 sec