(Photo: Badminton Europe)
Christo Popov: Making history
Date: 11/6/2020 9:21 PM
Published by : Yash Sharma
After losing in the mixed doubles semifinal with his partner Flavie Vallet, Christo Popov later joined his compatriot Yanis Gaudin to set up an all-French men’s singles final tomorrow.
It’s a déjà-vu moment, as we will have yet another all-French final. In 2017, Toma Junior Popov defeated Arnaud Merkle, who then went on to defeat Christo Popov in 2018. Now the younger Popov will get a chance for the gold against Yanis Gaudin. He will be determined to go all the way this time.

Gaudin emerged victorious in yet another three-game thriller. He beat the home favourite Joakim Oldorff. The Finnish player got a good start as he won the opening game 21-16. He also led 6-1 in the second game. This changed soon after.

- I knew that I had to concentrate on every point to win. I had a good feeling after winning the first game and I had a chance, Oldorff emphasised.

Medical timeout
Gaudin took a medical timeout due to some pain in the left hand. The break worked wonders for him. He got back into the match and battled past Oldorff 21-19 to force a decider. With his confidence back, he cruised to the finish line 21-13 in 61 minutes. 

- I had pain in my left hand and I took medical timeout. I was able to focus again on the tactic, Gaudin explained. 

- I was very stressed and nervous in the beginning of the second game. It was a good moment to take the rest. After that, I kept fighting and won the second game, he continued.

Popov vs Gaudin
Indeed, he will face Popov tomorrow. The top seed was in control of the semifinal match against the German Matthias Kicklitz. He easily won the second game after a close opener, 21-18, 21-8 in 34 minutes.

- I am very happy to win in two straight games. My legs were heavy in the first game but he was well prepared tactically. Even if I didn’t play my best, I managed to win it. My legs came back in the second and it was more relaxed for me, Popov analysed.

- I made it a little hard for him in the first game. He did lot of good things in the second and really put me under pressure. It was hard for me, Kicklitz pointed out.  

- He was more ready for the flat game. I was hoping to counterattack but he made the court bigger for me. I am really happy to get this bronze. It was a big goal, he was glad. 

French men’s singles champions
Popov seeks to follow in the footsteps of Toma Junior Popov and Arnaud Merkle.

- It is like making history and I am happy to continue this for France. I hope there are many more to come in the future, Popov was optimistic. 

- My legs were there again today and they will be there tomorrow. I wanted to see my friend Popov in the final, Gaudin said.  

Two bronze medals for Finland
Oldorff, in his turn, made no excuses. 

- I don’t think it was about physical fitness. I just made some errors but I don’t know if it was because I was tired. 

Nevertheless, he joined his compatriot Nella Nyqvist by winning a bronze in front of the home crowd. The 14-year-old Nyqvist gave in to the tactical prowess of Edith Urell 21-15, 21-12.

- I think it’s really cool. I am proud of us, Oldorff concluded.

Shapovalova vs Urell
After a bronze in the team event, the Russians have had a more successful individual campaign. The top seeds will contest three finals tomorrow, spearheaded by their women’s singles ace Anastasiia Shapovalova. She completely outplayed the fourth seed Marija Sudimac, 21-6, 21-13. The Serbian did well to make it to the double digits.

The top seed will have her a perfect chance to avenge her loss to Edith Urell in the team event, while winning the European Junior Championships crown. Last week, she had lost 21-19, 21-19. However, Shapovalova has gradually improved over the last few days to retain her form again.

While the tall Russian can reel off sharp, powerful smashes at will, the Swede is a very technical and tactical player. It will an interesting battle of contrasting styles and a thrilling women’s singles final tomorrow!

Watch all matches in full HD on

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