Yuqi and Christie could be banes of the two great Danes in Paris


KUALA LUMPUR: Danish men’s singles coach Kenneth Jonassen is wary of the threat posed by China’s Shi Yuqi and Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie in the Paris Olympics.

Fellow Danes Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen may be among the favourites to capture the coveted gold in the Olympics but Jonassen believes that Yuqi and Christie could spoil the party for his countrymen.

World No. 2 Yuqi played a prominent role in propelling China to the Thomas Cup Finals title at home in Chengdu earlier this month and captured the French and Indian Opens.

World No. 3 Christie has also been impressive this year and won both the All-England and Asian Championships crowns.

“Based on the past three or four months, I have to say Yuqi and Christie are looking the strongest leading up to the Olympics,” said Jonassen.

“The Olympics is completely different from the Open tournaments. The players need to get it right during the 10 days of competition there.

“To win the gold, a player must also be able to win during their bad days and deal with the enormous pressure.”

World No. 1 Axelsen, who captured the gold in the last edition in Tokyo in 2021, has not had his best year so far and has yet to win an individual title.

World No. 4 Antonsen is in better form after winning the Malaysian Open, Indonesian Masters and European Championships title.

The 27-year-old, though, suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long in the first round of the Thailand Open last week.

Both Axelsen and Antonsen have a good opportunity to win a title and regain their best form ahead of the Olympics when they compete in this week’s Malaysian Masters at the Axiata Arena.

Several other top 10 players including Yuqi and Christie have elected to give the tournament a miss to focus on their preparations for the Olympics.

“Axelsen and Antonsen always have a chance to win,” said Jonassen.

“They are not in peak form now but they are motivated to do well.”

Axelsen will play Japan’s Koki Watanabe in the first round today while Antonsen will meet Indonesian qualifier Shesar Hiren.

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