Marin Dials Down Expectations for ‘Final Frontier’

In a glittering career studded with three world titles and an Olympic gold, this is the one major tournament she has never won. The HSBC BWF World Tour Finals is the final frontier for Carolina Marin, but the Spaniard admitted that she has dialled down her expectations this time due to her recurrent knee problems.

“I haven’t won this in my career, but I accept that I’m not at 100 per cent, not even close to 100 per cent,” said the world No.5, after an efficient 21-18 21-10 result over Beiwen Zhang in her first Group B match.

“But this is how I am right now. I have to be more focussed on every rally. I wanted to enjoy on court and keep improving my game.”

This is a different Marin compared to the one at the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2023 in August, where she had declared that she was ready for a fourth world title. She nearly achieved that target, making it all the way to the final.

But in Hangzhou, her assessment of her physical condition was far more sombre.

“I’m far from my 100 percent. Maybe I’m at 50 percent. At the World Championships I was close to 100 per cent, but the knee sometimes keeps pushing to my mental side, because in the last few tournaments I had some trouble. It’s really tough to come back from two serious knee injuries. The last one (ACL injury in left knee) was tougher than the earlier one. But this is what I have and I want to keep going.

“Winning this title is motivation, but I don’t want to force myself just to focus on winning. I want to keep improving, and mainly focus on myself.”

Axelsen Upset; Antonsen Impressive

Shi Yu Qi upset Viktor Axelsen after eight successive losses

Shi Yu Qi finally broke a long spell of losses to Viktor Axelsen, beating his nemesis for the first time since 2017.

It was at the Dubai World Superseries Finals 2017 that Shi beat Axelsen for the one and only time, after which the Dane had an eight-match winning streak. Today the Chinese broke through in their Group A encounter, playing a high-intensity, mostly error-free game.

The Dane, uncharacteristically, looked burdened by pressure and couldn’t quite come up with his ‘A’ game as he fell 21-19 21-19.

Anders Antonsen

The Group B clash between Anders Antonsen and Li Shi Feng was expected to be tightly-fought, for their last face-off, at the YONEX All England in March, had turned out to be a classic.

This time, though, Li Shi Feng looked somewhat lost as he trailed by big margins in both games, and although he did offer some resistance at the end, the deficit was too big to bridge with the Dane coming away winner at 21-18 21-12.

“I’m super happy with the win,” said Antonsen. “It was a different match (from the All England). At the All England for me personally it was one of the most memorable matches, at an extremely high level. One of the best matches I’ve ever played. It’s one I still look back a lot.”


BWF World Tour News

Title Sponsor