ODENSE: India continue to show that they are serious contenders for the men's singles title at the Danisa Denmark Open when K. Srikanth and Sameer Verma marched into the quarter-finals – in a day when local hero Viktor Axelsen and Lin Dan of China crashed out.
Defending champion Srikanth showed Odense was indeed a happy hunting ground when he came from behind to beat two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan 18-21, 21-17, 21-16 in the men's singles second round at the Odense Sports Centre on Thursday.
It was Srikanth's first meeting against Lin Dan since his narrow defeat to the Chinese maestro at the 2016 Olympic Games quarter-final clash.
While Srikanth was overjoyed with his win, Lin Dan blamed defeat on the lack of speed on his part.
"I lost focus in the second game; Srikanth was too fast," said the 35-year-old.
"I tried to step up in the decider by serving better but I was making too many mistakes," added Lin Dan, who will head to next week's French Open, hoping to make amends and show that his career was far from over.
The 25-year-old Srikanth now faces younger compatriot Sameer, 23, who pulled off an amazing 23-21, 6-21, 22-20 win over Asian Games champion Jonathan Christie of Indonesia.
Just a day prior to this, Sameer had dumped All-England champion Shi Yuqi of China.
The biggest surprise on Thursday, however, came in the all-Danish battle between 2017 world champion Axelsen and Anders Antonsen.
Antonsen, 21, pulled a big upset by beating the 24-year-old, 2017 world champion Axelsen 21-10, 12-21, 21-19 to set up a quarter-final match against Huang Yuxiang of China.
"It was a weird experience playing against my compatriot. Viktor had the biggest support as this is his home town, but I'm glad to win it," said Antonsen.
Meanwhile, reigning champion Kento Momota of Japan kept his cool to check into the quarter-finals without much problem. He blew away Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand 21-14, 22-12 and will take on another Thai boy Khosit Phetpradab.
The other men's singles quarter-finals will be between Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan and Son Wan-ho of South Korea.
The women's singles quarter-final match-ups are as follows: Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan vs Chen Yufei of China; Cai Yanyan of China vs He Bingjiao of China; Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia vs Denmark's Line Kjaersfeldt; and Nozomi Okuhara of Japan vs Saina Nehwal of India.
SECOND ROUND RESULTS
Men's singles: Anders Antonsen (Den) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 21-10, 12-21, 21-19; K. Srikanth (Ind) bt Lin Dan (Chn) 18-21, 21-17, 21-16; Chou Tien-chen (Tpe) bt Kanta Tsuneyama (Jpn) 21-18, 21-16; Sameer Verma (Ind) bt Jonatan Christie (Ina) 23-21, 6-21, 22-20; Huang Yuxiang (Chn) bt Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) 22-20, 21-12; Kento Momota (Jpn) bt Suppanyu Avihingsanon (Tha) 21-14, 21-12; Son Wan-ho (Kor) bt Tommy Sugiarto (Ina) 13-21, 21-16, 21-9.
Men's doubles: Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina) bt Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen (Den) 21-12, 24-22; Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (Jpn) bt Berry Angriawan-Hardianto Hardainto (Ina) 21-12, 21-18; Takuto Inoue-Yuki Kaneko (Jpn) bt Kasper Antonsen-Niclas Nohr (Den) 21-11, 21-10; Han Chengkai-Zhou Haodong (Chn) bt Liu Cheng-Zhang Nan (Chn) 16-21, 22-20, 21-18; Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) bt Chen Hung-ling-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe) 21-16, 21-16.