(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Local heroes impress while fatigue sets in for others
Date: 10/28/2021 3:37 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez
The French players try their hardest to thrive in an ambitious tournament where some of the stars are starting to feel the exhaustion of a busy schedule. 

The third day of the YONEX French Open 2021 has already kicked off and the first few days have awarded fans with the usual amazing atmosphere, great matches, and unexpected turns. 

Yesterday was certainly eventful and despite the hard-fought encounters we have witnessed, the busy calendar of the last months, packed with events, and the tournaments looming on the horizon—including the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals and the World Championships in less than two months—are starting to take a toll on some of the players.

Fatigue hindering some of the stars
A clear example of this is Viktor Axelsen. Having gathered a total of 49 wins in 2021 so far, the player flew from his home country to Paris after becoming the champion of the Denmark Open on Sunday. 

It was time for him to step on court and face his first opponent of the French Open, Korea’s Heo Kwanghee. However, he only needed one point to take the decision to retire from the match and consequently the tournament, alluding to minor injuries in a post on social media.

- I quickly felt that I’m not ready to compete this week. With such a hectic tournament schedule I have no other choice than to listen to my body. I will now put my focus on my recovery, stated Axelsen.

Similarly, fatigue could be felt in the match between Axelsen’s Denmark Open final rival, Kento Momota and India’s Srikanth Kidambi. The gruelling encounter had both players making every effort to counterattack their opponent’s attacks. 

Still, there were glimpses of the exhaustion in some of their mistakes in the three-game marathon, such as it was at 19-19. Momota was on the floor, an excellent chance for Srikanth to get match point. However, the Indian player’s shot did not make it over the net in a mistake that cost him his continuation in the tournament.

The French fighting on home soil
In what was a remarkable performance from France’s most experienced men’s singles player, Brice Leverdez gave the home crowd a victory to loudly celebrate in his match against India’s Kashyap Parupalli.

The Frenchman and the Indian player had met four times prior to yesterday, but Leverdez only got to beat him once ten years ago in a battle that stretched to three games. This time, history would repeat itself, as both players also took the match to three games, and Leverdez would get to continue his journey at the French Open.

Ronan Labar surprised fans by pairing with Australian Gronya Somerville. Despite this being their first match together, they faced the established Danes Mathias Christiansen/ Alexandra Bøje with determination and almost got away with the win, but the Danish duo succeeded in a close decider, 21-14, 16-21, 22-20.

Fabien Delrue/ William Villeger faced Denmark Open men’s doubles reigning champions Takuro Hoki/ Yugo Kobayashi. Despite getting to recover from a difficult first game for them, the Japanese duo won the encounter, 21-9 21-19. In the same way and despite getting to fight in three games, Lucas Corvee/ Ronan Labar lost against the new and exciting young Thai pair Supak Jomkoh/ Kittinupong Kedren. 
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