Crackling Start by Danes; World Champions Falter

They weren’t looking for revenge, but there was a still a score to settle for Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen as they overturned the result of their TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2023 final against Kang Min Hyuk and Seo Seung Jae.

And so, after the most exciting clash of the opening session of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2023, which saw the Danes come through victorious in an end-game thriller 24-22, Astrup said it was nice to level the 0-1 deficit against the current world champions.

Kim Astrup reacts after the thrilling win

“It was insanely tense, and you could see that both pairs that it was important to win this match and both gave it all, and we left everything out there and luckily for us that was enough,” said Astrup, after the Danes had saved match point and converted their own third opportunity.

“It’s the small things that make the difference, so really proud about this win because of course they are world champions,” said Rasmussen. “It was a really good match and we’re so excited to get started in this tournament. We had an idea where we were, in terms of shape and playing-wise, but great, great start.

“The World Championships final was not really on our minds. The World Championships for us was just an amazing week, we weren’t looking back at the lost final. Of course we knew it was going to be a difficult match, we respect them a lot, so we didn’t see it as a rematch, we just saw it as the first match here, and a really tough match.”

His partner added:But it was nice to get a tie against them, head-to-head.

“We talked about getting a good start, it’s crucial in this kind of group play. So we just have to ride the wave tomorrow again.”

Kim Ga Eun Seizes Her Chance

Kim Ga Eun beat favourite An Se Young

It was the second loss of the day for a reigning world champion, after An Se Young had fallen in the opening match to compatriot Kim Ga Eun.

It was four years ago that Kim last beat An Se Young – incidentally, at the same tournament.

Since then, her younger compatriot has hit stratospheric heights; this year she was well on track to win the highest number of titles for a singles player in a calendar year until she injured her knee at the Asian Games. Following that setback, she went two events without a title – the longest period this year away from the podium.

Kim, meanwhile, seized her opportunities – winning the Korea Masters and making the semifinals of the LI-NING China Masters, thereby achieving her career’s highest ranking of No.13 and qualifying for the season finale.

The two were to face in the opening match of the HSBC BWF World Tour Finals 2023, and while it was apparent that An Se Young wasn’t close to her best, Kim still had to convert her opportunities. The nervousness showed when she was seven match points up in the second game; An came to within striking distance at 18-20, until Kim closed it out at 21-18 21-18.

“It’s my first time at the World Tour Finals, and it feels good that I’m in the same group as An Se Young, so that’s very significant for me. An was injured and hasn’t been in her best shape, so that was the reason I could win today. I got a lot of confidence from winning the Korea Masters, so I’m confident I can do well here.”

Other Highlights

In men’s doubles Group A, Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi won their sixth match in a row against Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik in a battle between former world champions to improve their record to 7-2.

Women’s doubles defending champions Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan had their hands full against younger compatriots Liu Sheng Shu/Tan Ning, but completed their opening assignment in straight games, 21-14 21-17.

Tai Tzu Ying, champion in 2020, looked in good touch against the in-form Gregoria Mariska Tunjung, wrapping up her opening match 21-18 21-17.


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