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(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Astrup/ Rasmussen: We gave it everything but the after-burn is pretty hard
Date: 7/29/2021 6:56 AM
Published by : Yash Sharma
The sole remaining European representatives in men’s doubles fell in a close encounter with Li Jun Hui/ Liu Yu Chen.

Going into the match, the Chinese had an impressive 7-1 record over their opponents. Out of their seven previous wins, three had gone the full distance. This happened to be the case today as well. 

The Danes had a good start as they confidently won the first game. 

- Kim and Anders prepared for a difficult first game. I think we didn't do well in the beginning. The Danes were more confident than us, Liu said.

The momentum started to shift in the next game as the former world champions settled in the match. Their defence became steadier and the attack sharper. They pocketed the second game 21-14. At one game apiece, it came down to the decider. 

Li/ Liu maintained a narrow lead throughout but finally broke away to lead 15-10. They seemingly got comfortable too early. As the Danes pressed on, Liu made uncharacteristic errors by pushing the shuttle wide during flat exchanges. The scoreline read 16-16. 

During the dying moments of the match, the initiative at the net made all the difference. With Li serving perfectly even under pressure, the Chinese had a slight upper hand. They won the decider 21-19. 

- The Danish players didn't have patience at times, Li pointed out after the win.

- I'm very happy since we hadn’t played any international matches in the past year. We think we can beat the next opponents. We just need to do our best, Li was quite optimistic.  

Lots of emotions
The Danes had a lot to offer after the match.  

- We gave it everything we had. It feels pretty empty inside right now. We really did what we could today and left it all out there, just as we promised ourselves. It's tough. I think we stayed okay in the zone. We tried to do the right thing but it's small margins when you play a top-class pair, Astrup explained. 

- We're proud and also a bit emotional. We had our chances but lost the second game fairly easily. We were playing well and gave it everything. I think they are a really good pair, but the after-burn is pretty hard. It's over now and it will be a pretty long time before we get the chance again. It's gonna stick for a while, Rasmussen was emotional. 

A thriller on cards
The Chinese pair will next face the Malaysian duo Aaron Chia/ Soh Wooi Yik, who shocked the top-seeded Minions to reach the semifinals. Even though the Chinese have a 5-0 record in their favour, the Malaysians had never beaten the world number ones in seven matches. However, they did it when it mattered the most. 

Can China win a third consecutive Olympics in the men’s doubles category? Will the Malaysians be able to avenge the loss of their seniors Goh V Shem/ Tan Wee Kiong to the Chinese legends Zhang Nan/ Fu Haifeng in the Rio final? 

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