Anders Antonsen overpowers countryman Viktor Axelsen

10/18/2018 10:17 PM | |  Sebastian Skov Andersen
The venue in Odense was packed and rather strangled when danish badminton darling, Viktor Axelsen, went head-to-head with fellow countryman and rising star, Anders Antonsen, in an intense clash between Denmark’s highest ranked men’s singles. After two strangely one-sided games, Antonsen came away with a narrow win at a final of score 21-19 and will progress into the quarter finals at DANISA DENMARK OPEN 2018 presented by VICTOR.

- I had looked forward to playing this match, and had prepared for every possible duel, said Anders Antonsen just after his match. 

The crowd was eerily quiet for the duration of the game, except for a few reclusive chants in the favor of Axelsen, making for an uncomfortable but intense match, especially in the third game. 

The first point of the first game fell in favor of the danish superstar, and a few lonesome chants pierced the silence. What followed was seven consecutive points in favor of the younger dane, who went into the mid-game break leading 11-3.

After the break, Antonsen came out looking very much in control, scoring many points off strong smashes and an atypical Axelsen who made many unforced errors, and the former quickly extended his lead to 15-7. Not only did Axelsen’s defensive play look weak, but Antonsen stubbornly returned almost all smashes as well. The first game can best be summarized as dominant, ending with a score of 21-10, Antonsen playing at the top of his game. 

- I think I played a very strong first game. I started out very strong like I planned, said Antonsen when asked about the course of the match. 

The second game was similar to the first, except for the fact that the two players had switched roles, Axelsen heading onto the court with a steaming forcefulness. Antonsen’s defense proved inadequate against the endless stream of strong and accurate smashes from the 23 year-old Axelsen, who, as if copy-pasted from the previous game, headed into the break leading 3-11. 

Axelsen’s strong play continued with few errors, a strong defense and sharp smashes. Antonsen’s points came off rather lucky plays at the net and short burst of strong play, but the gap was proved much to overcome. He had trouble finding the court, especially the baseline, and ends up losing the game with a score of 12-21. 

The third game, however, was a different story. Both players seemed reborn and showed new levels of speed, force and an incredible intensity. Viktor Axelsen took an early lead, but Anders Antonsen rapidly returned the favor, and the two players traded points until 4-4. From then on and until the break, Antonsen seemed slightly in control and ended up with an 11-6 lead. 

Coming into the last stretch of the match, Axelsen started off with two unforced errors, but soon closed the gap after careless play from Antonsen: 14-12. From this point forward and until the end of the match, the intensity rose exponentially. The crowd was continuously static, and both players exhausted loud shouts of relief at every winning play, clenching their firsts in celebration. Both players take one point each until the scoreboard reads 16-18, when a failed netdrop puts Axelsen within just a single point at 17-18. The trend continued, however, and at 19-20, Viktor Axelsen served just slightly too high, allowing Anders Antonsen to close the match, receiving loud and unceasing applause from the crowd. 

- I was actually a touched, and I still am a bit. [My, ed.] odds on paper were small, and I was damn proud and happy, said a joyous Anders Antonsen after his impressive victory. 

Leaving the playing field, the players were serenaded by satisfied fans, Antonsen taking time to greet fans. 

- I’m really happy that everyone wanted to turn up, and that’s why I’m disappointed about giving them a loss, commented Viktor Axelsen before heading towards the locker rooms. 


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