Denmark Open: Top Pairs Tumble

Four pairs expected to contend for the VICTOR Denmark Open 2023 title could not survive the second round at Jyske Bank Arena on Thursday.

Chief among the upsets was the takedown of men’s doubles world champions Kang Min Hyuk/Seo Seung Jae in straight games by 2022 All England winners Muhammad Shohibul Fikri/Bagas Maulana. The Indonesians won 21-17 24-22 in 46 minutes.

“We defended extremely well and it frustrated them. They lost their focus due to the building frustration. We hope these types of wins get us back into the momentum that helped us win All England,” said Fikri.

The victory sets them up for a quarterfinal clash against Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei/Yang Po-Hsuan, who ousted Olympic gold-winning teammates, the seventh-seeded Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin 21-13 21-15.

Maulana and Fikri posing for pictures after their match.

The theme continued late into the day with Japanese heavyweights Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi and Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino crashing against younger opponents.

Mixed doubles second seeds Watanabe/Higashino were the first to fall, losing 18-21 21-11 18-21 to another Chinese Taipei pair – the fast-improving Ye Hong Wei/Lee Chia Hsin.

Hoki/Kobayashi swiftly followed them out of the door after an 18-21 21-13 18-21 defeat to combative Korean youngsters Jin Yong/Na Sung Seung. Playing at their first Super 750 as a tandem, Jin/Na had in the first round seen off Indonesian world No.12s Leo Rolly Carnando/Daniel Marthin.

“Feels like a dream because it’s our first time beating a top 10 pair. But at the same time, I’m already thinking about preparing and being on my toes for the quarterfinals,” said the 20-year-old Jin.

Asked if they feel the weight of carrying the Korean men’s doubles challenge all by themselves, the 24-year-old Na said: “On the contrary, the pressure of being the last ones standing is what spurred us to win this match.”

Jin/Na face top seeds Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto, who came through a 70-minute battle against bogey pair Ben Lane/Sean Vendy 19-21 21-19 21-19, next.

“I’m not surprised by their results here,” said Alfian. “They are young, possess exceptional speed and they make minimal mistakes. Alongside Kim Won Ho, Na also beat us at the Asia Championships in Dubai in February so we have to be wary.”

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