23 October 2008
By Raphael Sachetat. Pix by BadmintonPhoto
The qualification day of the Denmark Open saw a lot of young Danish youngsters hoping to make it to the main draw, especially after a lot of top shuttlers withdrew from the event, leaving some empty spaces in the draws and great opportunities for valuable points.
There were no less than 26 players and/or pairs who withdrew from the Denmark Open after the draw was made a fortnight ago. Not really great news for the local organisers, who saw four top seeds cancel their trips to Odense – leaving only Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan to play as the world number ones.
Peter Gade, on his side, didn’t benefit from the withdraws, which were all in the other part of his draw – Taufik Hidayat and Lee Chong Wei for instance were to meet in the upper half of the draw. For the Dane, the road to the title is still very much the same as before, starting with Lu Yi of China before expecting a tough quarter-final against second seed Chen Jin.
“My form has been very good lately, but I haven’t played so many tournaments and I have a tough first round,” said the new father of a second daughter at a pre-tournament press conference led by Steen Pedersen, team manager for Denmark for his last Denmark Open.
If Gade wasn’t so lucky, others will benefit this fate, such as Scott Evans from Ireland, who lives and train in Denmark, flying the colours of a club – Genofte – Gade once wore as well. The young Irish was promoted from the qualifying round to the main draw with a new status as he replaced Lee Chong Wei as the new top seed of the event.
“It feels nice to be in the shoes of the top seed, but I feel no pressure really. I’m going to go out there and have fun, especially since I’ll meet Hans Kristian Vitthingus. We are very good friends, just not when we meet each other,” he laughed. “Hans Kristian will have all the pressure on him as he usually beats me all the time in tournaments,” Evans added.
Amongst the shuttlers making it to the main draw – after battling two rounds on Tuesday (the new regulation of the Super Series now forbids the three round long qualifications), two were from home ground.
Kasper Oedum was expected to make the cut but Martin Delfs couldn’t be a happier man as he was not even supposed to enter the tournament, called in from the reserved list. He made it worthwhile as he beat Hurskainen from Sweden first, and then England’s Carl Baxter in the thriller of the day – Delfs won on his fourth match point at 23/21 in the rubber game.
French National Champion Brice Leverdez was also close to being sent packing when he came back from 14/19 in the second game after losing the first one to Martin Kragh before booking his spot in the main draw later in the evening, just like Taufik Akbar Hidayat – the other “Taufik”.
The mixed doubles and men’s doubles qualification rounds were simply cancelled as all pairs got into the main draw directly thanks to the withdrawals, but the women’s singles were out battling for the four tickets for Wednesday’s merry go round.
At this game, in form Camilla Sorensen was the best, beating junior champion Karina Jorgensen and then Nicole Grether of Germany, who felt something in her foot and preferred to retire rather than jeopardise her chances in the women’s doubles with Canada’s Charmaine Reid.
Sorensen however was confident she would have still won : “I played well the only game we played, so I feel I would have won the second as well. Now I have to play Anu Nieminen in the first round, and I think it’s a good draw. Hopefully I can beat her,” added the recent quarter finalist from the Yonex Dutch Open.
Camilla was the only Dane coming out of the qualifying rounds, with three Japanese shuttlers – Goto, Imabeppu and Taruno sccoping the other spots for the main draw.