Christinna Pedersen-Joachim Fischer Nielsen are through to the mixed doubles final at the Malaysian Open badminton championship after beating Olympic champions Ma Jin-Zhao Yunlei in the semis at Putra Stadium on Saturday. - AZHAR ARIF/ The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Home is where the heart is.
And Denmark’s mixed doubles pair of Christina Pedersen and Joachim Fischer Nielsen intend to bank on home advantage to clinch their first World Championships gold medal when the prestigious tournament is held in Copenhagen in August.
They are confident of doing well at home after shocking Olympic gold medallists Zhang Nan and Zhao Yunlei of China 21-10, 21-12 in the semi-finals of the Maybank Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The Danish pair put up a superb display to show that they are truly genuine contenders for the world title.
Nielsen is delighted that the world meet will make its way back to the Danish capital after a 15-year absence.
“I’m very happy that the world meet is coming back to my birth place. I feel we stand a good chance of winning it this time around. Not only because we feel great but it’s also on our home soil,” said Nielsen.
Denmark, who have hosted the tournament three times (1983, 1991 and 1999), last won the world mixed doubles gold through Thomas Laybourn and Kamilla Rytter Juhl in 2009 in India.
And world No. 4 Nielsen-Pedersen believe that the next few competitions will be crucial in their build-up to the world meet.
“Despite our home advantage, we still have to keep a close watch on our main challengers. We hope to gain momentum in the next few competitions. Players from China, Thailand and South Korea will make it hard for us but we are very hungry for that gold,” said Nielsen.
Today, Nielsen-Pedersen will be looking to win their first title of the year when they go up against fourth seed Ma Jin and Xu Chen of China in the final of the Malaysian Open.