Antonsen shaping up well for Chengdu with golden Euro outing


PETALING JAYA: Danish shuttler Anders Antonsen warmed up for the Thomas Cup Finals from April 27-May 5 in Chengdu in style by capturing gold in the European Championships.

World No. 4 Antonsen was in smashing form as he beat in form Frenchman Toma Popov 21-18, 21-13 in the final in Saarbrucken, Germany on Sunday.

The victory ensured that the former avenged his teammate and world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen’s surprise loss to world No. 25 Popov a day earlier in the last four.

It was Antonsen’s second gold in the tournament after he also emerged victorious in 2021 in Ukraine.

It was also the 26-year-old’s third individual title this year after he captured the Malaysian Open and Indonesian Masters in January.

Antonsen was thrilled to continue his good form this year.

“Amazing feeling to claim my third title of 2024. Big relief to get the job done yesterday (Sunday),” said Antonsen.

“Looking forward to getting home and relax for a few days before the work towards new goals continues.”

Meanwhile, it was double joy for Denmark when veterans Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen defeated younger teammates Andreas Sondergaard-Jesper Toft 21-16, 21-15 to win the men’s doubles title.

Astrup, Rasmussen and Axelsen will also be part of a strong team for the Thomas Cup along with Antonsen.

The others in the team will be Rasmus Gemke, Magnus Johannesen (singles), Rasmus Kjaer, Frederik Sogaard, Daniel Lundgaard and Mads Vestergaard (doubles).

Denmark will face Malaysia, Hong Kong and Algeria in Group D.

In the European meet, Denmark missed out on a third title after mixed doubles pair Mathias Christiansen-Alexandra Boje went down 16-21, 15-21 to French pair Thom Gicquel-Delphine Delrue in the final.

In the women’s singles, Spain’s 2016 Olympic gold medallist and three time world champion Carolina Marin swept aside Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour 21-11, 21-18 to clinch her seventh consecutive European crown.

Men’s singles: Anders Antonsen (Den) bt Toma Popov (Fra) 21-18, 21-13.

Men’s doubles: Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen (Den) bt Andreas Sondergaard-Jesper Toft (Den) 21-16, 21-15.

Women’s singles: Carolina Marin (Spa) bt Kirsty Gilmour (Sco) 21-11, 21-18.

Women’s doubles: Margot Lambert-Anne Tran (Fra) bt Gabriela Stoeva-Stefani Stoeva (Bul) 16-21, 21-17, 21-11.

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