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European pairs need to step up tomorrow
Date: 12/7/2022 4:41 PM
Published by : Thomas Fuchs (BEC)
Both European pairs lost their first matches at the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2022 in Bangkok and will have to win tomorrow to stay in the title race. Anders Skaarup/Kim Astrup lost in two sets to Liu/Ou, while Thom Gicquel/Delphine Delrue were defeated by Zheng/Huang 8-21, 9-21. Meanwhile, Viktor Axelsen picked up his 53rd win of the year by beating Lu Guangzu 21-13, 21-11.
Anders Skaarup/Kim Astrup did not get the start they had hoped for at the World Tour Finals in Bangkok. The Danish men's doubles team lost 11-21, 19-21 to Liu Yuchen/Ou Xuan Yi of China, who were coming off a fresh tournament win at the Australian Open.
The Chinese seemed to be playing with a lot of confidence while the Danes were caught off guard in the first set, which resulted in an 8-1 lead for Liu/Ou before they went on to win the first game 21-11. Skaarup/Astrup played their way into the second set, but it was still not enough. They were behind at 9-11, and managed to equalize at 18-18. The Chinese decided the match on their second match ball at 21-19.

The Danish will get another chance for victory tomorrow when they meet "The Daddies" Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan, who today won 21-12, 21-15 over world champions Aaron Chia/Wooi Yik Soh. 
Back in 2018, the Danes also lost their first match in the group stage at the season finals. They still managed to reach the semifinals, and they can hope that scenario repeats itself this year.
Tough start for Gicquel and Delrue

The French mixed pair had quite an unlucky draw for their first match in Bangkok. Earlier this year they described Zheng/Huang as the “best pair in the world” and “our toughest opponents to play against”. The Chinese dominated the mixed doubles competition in 2022 and were also named BWF Pair of the Year at the BWF Gala a few days ago. 

In today’s match, Zheng and Huang continued their impressive performance, not leaving any doubts about their outstanding level at the moment. Gicquel and Delrue tried their best but did not find their way into the match. After just 25 minutes the Chinese won 21-8 21-9. 

The French pair, that reached the semifinal at the BWF World Tour Finals 2020, will be looking forward to do better tomorrow when they step on court against Goh/Lai form Malaysia.

Axelsen keeps rolling 
Viktor Axelsen, who on Monday was named BWF Men's Player of the Year 2022, was up against Lu Guangzu from China today. A player the Dane was favourite to beat, having won all four of his previous matches.
But on the other hand, the world number 17 came with plenty of confidence on the back of a final place at the Australian Open, where he beat, among others, Lee Zii Jia, who is not competing in this year's season finals in Bangkok.
Despite having some trouble with the wind in the hall, Axelsen won the opening game 21-13. In the second game, Viktor Axelsen seemed to be in complete control of the conditions of the hall and his opponent winning the match 21-11 after 39 minutes of play.
With the win, the Danish world champion claimed the top spot in Group A. Number two is Kodai Naraoka, who beat H.S. Prannoy in three games 21-12, 9-21, 21-17. Tomorrow Axelsen will face Japanese Naraoka. 

All matches can be watched on the BWF YouTube channel.
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