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BADMINTON

Japan eliminates Denmark from Sudirman

Japan eliminated Denmark in a neck and neck battle at the Sudirman Cup on Friday after winning a nail-biting women's double match and will play against South Korea in the semi-finals.

Japan eliminates Denmark from Sudirman
Denmark's Mads Pieler Kolding (R) and Sara Thygesen (L) play against Japan's Kenta Kazuno and Ayane Kurihara during their mixed doubles quarter-final match at the 2015 Sudirman Cup. Photo: Wang Zhao/A
Denmark put up a spirited fight but fell 2-3 after Line Kjaersfeldt and Sara Thygesen fell to Japan's top-seeded Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the final match that lasted an hour and three minutes with a score of 21-19, 7-21, 19-21.
 
“I'm very happy about it,” Matsutomo told AFP after winning the match in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan. Japan had lost in the same event two years ago.
 
“We felt like we actually had them in the third game,” Thygesen told reporters, adding that a few mistakes caused the loss.
 
In the men's singles, Japan's rising star Kento Momota wowed the crowds with his strong play in the first game against Denmark's Viktor Axelsen, but fell in the second game.
 
Axelsen, however, crumbled in the third game losing 15-21, 21-17, 9-21.
 
“I wish I could be a star like Lee Chong Wei,” Momota said when asked by AFP if he will one day take over the reins as one of the world's top badminton players.
 
“I want to be a player like him, a player that's loved by everyone and is really popular,” the 20-year-old, who won his first Superseries title in Singapore in April, said.
 
Former world-number-one Lee, who along with the rest of the Malaysian team was eliminated in Thursday's quarter-finals by South Korea, was playing his first event since receiving a backdated, eight-month ban for accidentally ingesting a banned anti-inflammatory.
 
Denmark trailed Japan 1-2 after Line Kjaersfeldt lost to Nozomi Okuhara 12-21, 8-21, but stayed alive in the clutch men's doubles match.
 
Danish duo Mads Pieler Kolding and Kim Astrup held their own in a tight first game against Japan's Hiroyuki Endo and Kenichi Hayakawa.
 
They powered through in the second game and won 21-19, 21-15 to cheers of support from the crowd.
 
“We're very relieved,” Kolding told AFP after the match. “To go in there today and beat good Japanese players is very satisfying,” he said.
 
Denmark, Europe's top team, arrived in disarray after five top players were kicked out last month in a row over sponsorship by rival cookie companies.
 
Mathias Boe, Carsten Mogensen, Joachim Fischer Nielsen, Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who are sponsored by Kjeldsen Cookies, are at odds with Badminton Denmark since it signed a deal with Danisa Cookies.
 
Kolding and Astrup had no comment on the issue.
 
Indonesia finished off Taiwan in the quarter finals winning 3-1 with Christie Jonatan beating higher seeded Hsu Jen Hao 21-12, 13-21, 21-16 in one hour and six minutes in the men's single showdown after Indonesia's Bellaetrix Manuputty fell to Tai Tzu Ying.
 
Tournament favourites China will face Indonesia in the semi-finals Saturday with Japan set to square off with South Korea.

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MATCH-FIXING

Denmark makes racket over ‘match-fixing’ Chinese badminton players

The national association for badminton in Denmark says the sport’s world federation should punish Chinese players for a match at last week’s Fuzhou China Open which has been described as a “farce”.

Denmark makes racket over 'match-fixing' Chinese badminton players
China's Junhui Li, left, and Yuchen Liu, seen here during a different match, lost in the controversial quarter-final in Fuzhou. AP Photo/Aaron Favila/Ritzau Scanpix

Bo Jensen, director of Badminton Denmark, wants the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to take action after seeing footage of a quarter final match in which He Jiting and Ta Qiang defeated Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen in three sets.

“I am giving my support to the criticism. This is cheating, it’s match-fixing and we can’t accept it,” Jensen said to TV2 Sport.

“In our context, this is just as bad as doping, and it must be punished because if it is not, we will damage the sport’s reputation amongst fans and the many sponsors that are making huge investments at the moment,” he added.

Several Danish badminton players are reported to have been present during the match. Doubles pair Mads Pieler Kolding and Mads Conrad-Petersen lodged a complaint with tournament organisers following the match about the way it had been played.

Another player, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, later posted an update on Facebook in which he compared the match to a scandal during the 2012 Olympic Games in London, when eight players from China, South Korea and Indonesia were disqualified for deliberately trying to lose.

“This was a complete farce of a match which made me think of the London Olympics when 4 pairs deliberately tried to lose their matches. I kid you not, it was this bad,” Vittinghus wrote, citing errors in play that “just (don’t) happen at this level”.

“Difficult to get hard evidence, but if you have watched a bare minimum of world class badminton, you’d know what just happened,” he also wrote.

The BWF told TV2 Sport that it would not comment on the issue prior to receiving a report from the tournament’s organisers.

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