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(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Gilmour topples Marin, Li marches on
Date: 10/31/2020 7:23 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
The women’s singles matches were the highlights of an extraordinary semifinals day at the SaarLorLux Open 2020.

The three-time world champion and the reigning Olympic champion Carolina Marin was shocked by Kirsty Gilmour in the first women’s singles semifinal. Gilmour’s attacking play put the Spaniard under a lot of pressure. 

Marin’s woes continue
Reminiscent of her Denmark Open final against Nozomi Okuhara, Marin made too many uncharacteristic errors. She recovered well to hold a game point at 20-19 but Gilmour deservedly took the opener 22-20. A dispirited and frustrated Marin lost 21-14 in the second. 

As for Gilmour, she beat her close friend for the first time in more than six years. Here is an excerpt from her win back in 2014.

- I remember the Spanish Open 2014 as a whole pretty well actually. But the final is a bit of a blur. I'm sure I have video of it somewhere. In terms of my mindset going into the final, I knew Carolina had some pressure of the home crowd but I don't remember planning to utilise that. I was just hoping to make it through the day, singles and doubles in one piece. I think that allowed me to play pretty fearlessly.

Future star Yvonne Li
Despite a solid tournament so far, Yvonne Li had a lackluster start to the semifinal against Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt. After she lost the first game 21-13 and faced four match points at 20-16, she showed a fighting spirit far beyond her years. She won the game 23-21 and maintained a gap throughout the decider to complete the incredible comeback in a match lasting just shy of the hour-mark. 

Li has already done better than a semifinal appearance here last year. With both athletes having already given their all to reach the final, the previous 1-0 record in favour of Gilmour is irrelevant as they fight it out for the women’s singles crown on Sunday.   
 
Toma Junior Popov comes of age
It was a good day out for another 22-year-old. The Frenchman Toma Junior Popov achieved perhaps the best result of his young career. He convincingly defeated Ditlev Jaeger Holm of Denmark 21-17, 21-15 to reach the finals. 

In the other men’s singles semifinal, Mark Caljouw drew on his past experience to stop the 18-year-old Canadian Brian Yang in two games. He controlled the proceedings and took points at will to ease through 21-18, 21-17 in 37 minutes.

As Popov faces Caljouw tomorrow, he will seek to reverse a 2-0 head-to-head record to lift the men’s singles trophy at the SaarLorLux Open 2020. 

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