Several lesser-known players had the opportunity to play on the biggest stage of their careers. Players like Yvonne Li, the French mixed doubles pair Julien Maio/Lea Palermo, and Danish teenagers Christine Busch/Amalie Schulz fought hard to reach the semifinals. A young Danish men’s doubles pair, Joel Eipe/Rasmus KjÆr, even beat their higher-ranked compatriots Kim Astrup/Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, and went on to make the semifinals. With exciting junior talent such as Christo Popov, Lakshya Sen, Line Christophersen and others on display, the event gave a glimpse of what to expect from the next generation.
There were upsets, close shaves, and hard physical contests. Among the memorable moments were Hans-Kristian Vittinghus fighting off cramps through his quarterfinal against Lakshya Sen to emerge victorious; Chris Langridge/Marcus Ellis’s gallant resurgence in the final, and Fabienne Deprez’s comeback from a personal crisis to win a pulsating first round contest. Four of the five finals were tight affairs, with the last match – featuring local stars Anders Antonsen and Rasmus Gemke – the closest of them. Both men were unable to walk at the end of it. It was a fitting end to a memorable event.
Badminton at a time of social distancing was new territory for everyone – so there were elephant trunk-looking shuttle dispensers, service judges with masks, interviews conducted across plastic screens and at virtual stations. Those in the Green Zone were temperature checked on arrival, QR-coded during entry and exit, and Covid-tested through the week. Such meticulous preparation lent itself to a successful week.
Anders Antonsen, upon defeating Gemke in the men’s singles final, whipped the crowd – and social media – into a frenzy with a unique, and now viral, celebration. Some have called it ‘the Cristiano Ronaldo’, others dubbed it ‘pant-emonium’, while the man himself said: “I did not really think too much about it. I think I wanted to pay tribute to my legs for keep on pushing on. So, thank to my legs, I guess.”
The #AntonsenTug is explained!
Find out what his favourite name for it is. pic.twitter.com/36sgR3IIu2
— BWF (@bwfmedia) October 25, 2020
The last word must belong to Fabienne Deprez, who cast light on a little-known health disorder after her gritty first round victory. Having beaten Qi Xuefei, Deprez burst into tears and revealed that she had been diagnosed with sleep apnea, which caused her breathing difficulties at night, and which had caused her severe fatigue and inability to train adequately, throwing her badminton future into doubt. The win over Xuefei was in the first round, but to Deprez, it made a world of difference, for she said it had given her the confidence not to give up badminton. That the Denmark Open provided a platform for her in her journey against a disorder was something to cherish.
Also read: Denmark Open Passes Test With Flying Colours