OKUHARA Nozomi, CHOU Tien Chen and Anders Antonsen all registered comfortable victories in the opening round
No trouble for top seeds
Day 2 of the Denmark Open 2020 saw top contenders, in both men's and women's singles, register straightforward victories and move into the second round. CHOU Tien Chen, Anders Antonsen, Kidambi Srikanth, OKUHARA Nozomi and Jan O Jorgensen were all in action on the second day of the BWF 750 event that marks the return of international badminton.
Okuhara, Chou outclass opponents
Men's world number two and the highest ranked player in the tournament Chou wrapped up his first round win (21-16.21-11) over Denmark's Svendsen in 46 minutes. The Chinese Taipei star was aggressive right from the start and didn't give any time to the Dane despite the latter putting up a good fight.
"I think it's exciting to come back and I've come back very quickly. It's very interesting for me and I'm very happy to come back. I've been training doing other sports like soccer and running. We've also had national competitions to help maintain my playing level," said Chou after his victory.
With her ace rival and world number one TAI Tzu Ying absent from the tournament, all eyes were on Japan's world number 4 Okuhara, who faced Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour in a tricky first round fixture.
However, the Japanese star stomped her authority on the match and won it 21-7, 21-19 in just under 40 minutes. Gilmour was thoroughly outplayed by Okuhara in a one sided first game and even though the Scottish star fought hard in the second game, the former world number one sealed a win to move into the second round.
Speaking after the game, Okuhara said: "I feel special, and thank you to every fan and supporter. I did my best today. I wasn’t anxious about winning or losing. I was more focussed on playing badminton, I felt I just wanted to play and return to the court. Kirsty is a good player, so I had to focus, especially at the end of the second game it was a close battle."
Comfortable wins for Srikanth, Antonsen
Indian star and former world number one Srikanth marked his return to the court with an easy win (21-12, 21-18) over England's Toby Penty as the 2017 Denmark Open Champion looked to regain form before after having troubles with injuries in the past. Penty was no match for Srikanth in the first game but fought hard in the second game but to no avail as the Indian star asserted his dominance to take the match.
“I started off well, but he was good in the second game. I’m playing after a long time. It’s like an adventure. This situation is something new. I’ve never been away for this long, and I’m happy with the way it went,” Srikanth said after his first round win.
World number 3 Antonsen was also in action on Day 2 of the Denmark Open and he outclassed India's Ajay Jayaram in straight games to register a 21-12, 21-14 victory. Both Antonsen and Jayaram were aggressive from the start and as a result, there were some excellent rallies on display but the Dane showed his class in both defence and attack to outclass his Indian opponent.
After the game, the 23-year-old expressed his delight over the return of badminton action.
"It's really great to be back, I have missed playing at tournaments. It's been a tough period of time these last six/seven months. I've missed all this and I'm super happy to be back," he said.
"It's really different this time and a weird experience, but I'm so happy we're back and I'm really thankful to Badminton Denmark for this event."