(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Danish stars deliver as expected
Date: 7/28/2021 3:16 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
The fight to make it out the group stages is on and the two Danes at the men’s singles category get to continue their Olympic journey after winning.

The two Danish players in men’s singles at the Olympics, Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen, remain unbeaten and smoothly move onto the next stage, topping their respective groups. Expectations in not only Denmark but Europe are high to see if the world’s number two and three make it to the podium.

Axelsen believes in himself
The bronze Olympic medalist Viktor Axelsen already knows what it takes to reach the Olympic podium. The 27-year-old has had to face two European players to advance in the events. First, he encountered Austria’s Luka Wraber, who he beat 21-12 21-11.

Today, the 27-year-old met an old friend. Finland’s Kalle Koljonen and Axelsen had played this year in the European Championships semifinals, where the Finnish underdog made his way to the decisive matches after beating Rasmus Gemke.

- I go in there with huge respect for my opponents. Today was no different. I know Kalle recently from the European Championships so I knew I had to step up, Axelsen noted.

It was a similar performance for both as the Koljonen gave his all, but the Dane was in control of the game and won over his opponent in straight games, 21-9 21-13. Axelsen is not just glad about the win, but also about the performance he has shown on court today.

- I think it was a good performance today. I managed to step up, compared to my first round, so obviously I’m really satisfied and happy to be through to the next stages.

Antonsen, eager to win
Anders Antonsen had defeated his first opponent in the Olympics, Vietnam’s Tien Minh Nguyen, in straight games 21-13 21-13. The European champion now had to face Ade Resky Dwicahyo. 

The Indonesian-born player who has been playing under the Azerbaijani flag since 2018 was up for the challenge and gave it all he got in the 45-minute-long match. This made Antonsen step up his game as compared to with his last opponent.

- It wasn't as smooth sailing as the last match. I think Ade played really good. I haven't faced him before. Some of his skills and techniques were really good. It surprised me a bit to be honest, Antonsen said.

Despite Dwicahyo’s efforts, the Dane followed the steps of Axelsen to get away with a win 21-16 21-15 and therefore move onto the Round of 16. Being in the Olympics and fighting for medals while facing some of the world’s best comes with a lot of pressure, but Antonsen feels confident of what his focus is.

- I really want to win this tournament, of course that adds pressure for myself but I'm just very excited to be here and play very match so I'm eager to win.

World number one Kento Momota, who was a clear favorite, is now out of the way, so the two Danes now have more chances of reaching the podium.

Team GB will also have their own star to fight for a medal in the Round of 16 as Toby Penty has astonished fans with a win over Thailand's Kantaphon Wangcharoen in a match that resulted in 19-21 12-21. 
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