China Open: French on Verge of History

Thom Gicquel and Delphine Delrue made their first final at an HSBC BWF World Tour Super 1000 event  – the biggest of their career – at the VICTOR China Open 2023 setting themselves up for a history-making moment for France.

A victory on Sunday will make Gicquel and Delrue the first from their country to win an event of this level.

The French duo avenged their loss at the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2023 to Chen Tang Jie/Toh Ee Wei, taking just 38 minutes to get the better of the Malaysians, 21-16 21-13.

It’s an amazing feeling,” said Delrue. “We played a really good match today. We learnt a lot from the Worlds where we’d lost to them. We had a good plan today.”

Toh Ee Wei

Gicquel and Delrue, whose previous best at an event of this magnitude was the semifinals of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals in January 2021, dominated the match from start to finish, giving their opponents no momentum to build on.

We were focussed on every point. We gave them nothing to believe in,” said Gicquel. “We were good in tactics and emotionally. When they are not pumped up as they are used to, they aren’t as good as they can be.

I think they were a bit nervous in their first semifinal,” added Delrue. “We have a bit more experience than them and we used that today. If we play like this, we can win (tomorrow) but we have to do it every point, that’s the difficult part.”

The French will be up against world champions Seo Seung Jae/Chae Yu Jung in the final, with the Koreans having outplayed another Malaysian pair, Tan Kian Meng/Lai Pei Jing 21-19 21-11.

Day 5 Highlights

An Se Young

World champion An Se Young continued her nearly unstoppable journey as she made her 12th final this year from 13 events. The Korean was given a stiff test by Tai Tzu Ying in the opening game before the relentless of An’s game proved too hard for her challenger to break.

Baek Ha Na/Lee So Hee made their third Super 1000 final this year – their eighth final this season — and will take on world champions Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan, who are in their fourth straight final.

What They Said

“During the World Championships everything went perfectly, but we still have issues to fix, so we are trying to evolve. There are more challenges ahead. Today the mixed doubles wasn’t very long, so I can get some more rest for men’s doubles.” – Seo Seung Jae

“I’m very happy to be in another final. The first game was very challenging, but I’m happy I pulled it off. I found the shuttle hard to control in the wind, particularly in the first game. I’m younger than her, so I’m able to outlast her in the long rallies.” – An Se Young

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