Before these championships started the question was not would a Danes win the men’s singles title but more a debate about which one of four would win gold and who would be runner up.
Everyone fully expected Peter Gade to romp to his 6th European title with his main challenge coming from Jan Ø Jørgensen, Viktor Axelsen or even Hans Kristian Vittinghus. What has happened in Karlskrona over the last couple of days must have surely rocked the European powerhouse of badminton as the last of the Danish super stars fell at the semi final stages today.
First to leave the arena was the world junior champion from 2010, Viktor Axelsen. The youngest of the Danes had been in decent form this week and had been performing well but came up against the most confident man in Sweden right now in the shape of Henri Hurskainen.
The Swede’s giant killing from yesterday, where he beat the legend that is Peter Gade, was followed up by yet another defiant display of measured gutsy badminton as he killed of the challenge of Axelsen in three games.
The Dane always said that his goal was a medal here this week and he achieved that with bronze but I am sure he will feel he left a gold or silver behind him on the court today after control the match for vast periods.
But like yesterday Hurskainen battled back to take the match and in the process continues to write another chapter in his European fairy tale.
“It is really beyond belief that this has happened but I am playing well and that is just simply the way it is. I know now that yesterday was no fluke and tomorrow I go in with the full confidence that I can now take gold. The crowd again was amazing and they will be key in the outcome of the gold medal tomorrow, and what can I say this is an unbelievable achievement for badminton in Sweden” said Hurskainen to Badminton Europe.
Following hot in The Swedes footsteps was Marc Zwiebler from Germany. Zwiebler, like Hurskainen, was the underdog against Jan Ø Jørgensen but after an injury of Jørgensen in the first game the writing was always on the wall for the world number 13.
Zwiebler had to maintain his focus throughout with many breaks in play with the doctor being called but the relief was obvious as he took the match 21-19 21-15 to move into tomorrow’s finals.
“I think I benefited from some tough matches through this tournament so far. Jan has had an easy route after the withdrawal of Wacha and this was his first real test. I feel sorry for him that he sustained the injury and really hope he is ok but for me now I feel that this maybe my time but I know tomorrow I will have not only a battle against Henri who is in the form of his life but also against this great crowd here in Sweden” said a very relieved Marc Zwiebler to Badminton Europe.
Tine Baun continued her March to another European crown with a unchallenged win over Linda Zechiri in the first of the women’s semi finals and she will now play Juliane Schenk of Germany, in a repeat of the final from two years ago, after Schenk easily beat Yao Jie of The Netherlands.
“I have a good record against Jie and I know how to play her. I knew if I kept the tempo high and moved her around the court I could win and it worked perfectly. Now it is Tine and I again and I hope that tomorrow just may be my day” Schenk said to Badminton Europe after her easy victory.
The biggest shout of the day came from German men’s doubles pair Fuchs and Roth as against the odds they have made it to the finals unseeded. The likeable Germans came through in three sets against Bonde and Kristiansen from Denmark.
Finally Denmark will rely on the pairings of Kolding and Houmann and Kruse and Ropke to try and bring home gold. The unlikely gold medal protagonists have performed magically this week and have a real shot at gold now tomorrow.
View all the action from today’s matches live on demand on BEtv by clicking here and remember to tune in and follow all the action live tomorrow from 2pm local time.
Article and Image by Mark Phelan (live in Karlskrona)