A Blichfeldt Blitz in Glasgow
Mia Magic fills the Emirates
Date: 8/24/2017 12:39 AM
Published by : Mark Phelan
Day 3 at the 2017 World Championships had drama from the outset with top seeded mixed pair Li & Liu of China going down in the very first match of the day. Mia Blichfeldt created her own drama in the very last match on court as the plucky Dane took down number 10 seed Sayaka Sato to book her last 16 spot. 

Blichfeldt, who turned 20 just last week, never looked out of her depth in the match against the vastly experienced Japanese. Both traded opening sets by identical scores 21-14 and at 11-11 in the decider the match was there for the taking. 

Sato looked visibly tired as the Dane grabbed a stranglehold to lead 18-15 but the fighting qualities of Sato kept her in touch. Blichfeldt maintained focus to see the match out with a 21-18 win and with her hands on her face for what seemed like an eternity the Dane could not believe what had just happened herself. 

In a match that stretched to just over the hour the young Dane showed her new found mental capabilities which now complement her talent to make her a formidable opponent as we enter the last 16. For her reward Blichfeldt will now play reigning champion Carolina Marin after the Spaniard eased past Yip Pui Yin in her first outing in this year’s Championships. 

“It is hard to believe right now what I have done. I did not expect this to win over such a great player like Sato. I felt good during the match and towards the end I just kept myself focused and sensed a bit that she was getting tired.”

It was a good day for Europe’s elite women’s singles contingent with Beatriz Corrales joining Marin into the last 16 and Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour (pictured above) did the home fans a favour to ensure some home representation on day 4 with an easy win over Das of India. 

“It was nice to get back into the swing of things and shake off some cobwebs” said Gilmour after her win. “This World Championships has been a long time coming so to finally get it under way is a bit of a relief. This match gave me a chance to try things out and puts me in good shape for tomorrow.” 

Zwiebler goes down fighting

This World Championships was always going to me Marc Zwiebler’s swansong. The great German had declared his intention to retire just before the European championships and today was the day the German finally hung up his racket bag. 

It was not without the greatest of fights however as Zwiebler went the distance with sixth seed Chou Tien Chen. It was obvious that Zweibler knew his fate early in the third game when Chou took an 11-5 lead. Knowing his time was coming to a close Zwiebler fought for every shuttle as if his life depended on it and just as he has done all his career. 

In the end the German had nothing left as Chou Tien Chen eased home 21-14 to end the career of one of Europe’s most flamboyant players. Both players exchanged shirts and the 2012 European champion now heads into the sunset knowing that he left nothing behind him on the courts only great memories for all those fortunate to see him play. 

“This is the end. I will not miss the travelling or hotel rooms but for sure I will miss all the great friends I have made over my years playing badminton. I have had great experiences and I am also full of great memories. There are some new guys coming along now and it is their time to shine and I look forward to seeing them progress” 

Viktor Axelsen showed he is ready to fight for gold beating Finland’s Eetu Heino in two games. The number 3 seed was taken to three set yesterday but made no mistake today and was happy to see the back of Heino.

“Eetu is a guy I know very well. He plays a very emotional game on court so you have to stay in your own zone throughout the match otherwise you can very easily get distracted. To win in two is a good bonus as it means I have saved some energy now for the next rounds.” 

Brice Leverdez continued his run of three set form beating Zvonimir Durkinjak 22-20 in the deciding set while Rajiv Ouseph appears to be in the form of his life and after his win today has the dream match against Lin Dan to look forward to in the last 16. 

Elsewhere Juhl and Pedersen (pictured above) survived a three set scare against Ponappa and Reddy of India while Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen loosing out in what they would describe as a poor performance against Liao and Cheng of Taipei. 

For all results from today’s play in Glasgow click HERE

For a full photo gallery from day 3 at the 2017 World Championships click HERE

Article and Images by Mark Phelan for Badminton Europe

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