Wednesday, 22 May 2024

BWF News

One of the most memorable careers in badminton has come to an end at the French Open. Peter Gade, former world number one, bid farewell to the sport after a hard-fought match against fellow Dane Jan O Jorgensen, who emerged victorious with a score of 21-18, 17-21, 15-21.

Gade’s career has been nothing short of remarkable, with numerous global titles to his name, including the prestigious All England championships in 1999. He also reached the final of the World Championships in 2001. Despite being in the twilight of his career, Gade almost pulled off an upset in the quarter-finals against his much younger compatriot.

In the second game, it seemed like Jorgensen was on the verge of a humiliating defeat. Gade had snatched the first game from under his nose, rallying from an 18-13 deficit to win six consecutive points and carry that momentum into the second game. At 14-9, the veteran showed glimpses of his magical touch, but Jorgensen altered his strategy, focusing his attacks on Gade’s body. This change paid off as he caught up at 15. Gade’s precision began to waver, and his powerful smashes missed their mark. Ultimately, the match proved too demanding for the 35-year-old Gade, and Jorgensen comfortably claimed the deciding game.

On his Facebook page, Gade expressed his sentiments about his final match, stating, “Tonight at Stade De Coubertin was the time and place for ending my tournament career in the world of badminton… Although I lost my match against my compatriot, Jan Jørgensen, I enjoyed every second on court. It would have been nice to win today, and I had a chance to do so. But ultimately, what mattered to me was bidding farewell in a dignified manner, and I believe I achieved that.”

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In the wake of Gade’s retirement, all eyes are on Viktor Axelsen, seen as the Danish player most likely to fill his shoes. Axelsen secured a place in the semi-finals with a hard-fought victory over eighth seed Wang Zhengming of China, winning 21-7, 13-21, 21-15. He will now face off against Kenichi Tago of Japan for a spot in the Men’s Singles final. The other semi-final will be contested between Jorgensen and Daren Liew of Malaysia.

In the Women’s Singles, Juliane Schenk continued her impressive form against Chinese opponents. After defeating two top Chinese players at the Denmark Open last week, Schenk dominated her match against upcoming Chinese player Chen Xiao Jia, winning 21-10, 21-14. She will now face top seed Saina Nehwal in a rematch of the Denmark Open final. Nehwal faced a tough challenge from seventh seed Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand in the quarter-finals but managed to win in straight games, 22-20, 22-20.

The lower half of the Women’s Singles draw saw a major upset, with third seed Tine Baun being outplayed by Minatsu Mitani of Japan, who won 21-7, 21-18. The other semi-final will be an all-Japanese affair as Mitani takes on senior compatriot Eriko Hirose, who defeated Tsz Ka Chan of Hong Kong 21-15, 21-18.

In the Men’s Doubles, Korea’s Lee Yong Dae, playing with new partner Ko Sung Hyun for the second time, caused an upset by defeating the resurgent Malaysian pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong in a thrilling match that ended 25-23, 16-21, 23-21. Lee and Ko will now face fellow Koreans Kim Ki Jung and Kim Sa Rang in the semi-finals, while the top half of the draw features Hong Wei and Shen Ye of China against Thailand’s Bodin Issara and Maneepong Jongjit.

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The Women’s Doubles will see top seeds Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter-Juhl take on Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito of Japan. In the other semi-final, Ma Jin and Tang Jinhua of China will go head-to-head with compatriots Bao Yixin and Zhong Qianxin.

In the Mixed Doubles, Chris Adcock and Imogen Bankier, the seventh seeds from England and Scotland respectively, caused an upset by defeating the runners-up of the Denmark Open, Tantowi Ahmad and Lilayana Natsir, in the quarter-finals. They will now face top seeds Xu Chen and Ma Jin of China in the semi-finals. The other semi-final will feature Qiu Zihan and Bao Yixin of China against Shin Baek Choel and Eom Hye Won of South Korea.

In summary, the French Open has witnessed the end of an era as Peter Gade, one of badminton’s finest, retires from professional play. His career has been filled with remarkable achievements, and he leaves behind a legacy that will be hard to match. As the tournament progresses, new stars are emerging, and the competition is intense in all categories. Fans eagerly await the finals to see who will claim the prestigious titles. For the latest updates on the French Open and the world of badminton, visit Carnegiecentre.com.