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Ahmad and Natsir seal Semi-Final Spot in Glasgow

Friday 25 August 2017

Reigning Olympic champions Tontowi Ahmad and Liliyana Natsir secured their fourth World Championship medal with quarter-final victory, but are refusing to take anything for granted in their quest for gold.

Ahmad and Natsir, who won the world title in Guangzhou four years ago, defeated Wang Yilyu and Huang Dongping in three games to ensure at least bronze at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.

The Indonesian pair were forced to come from behind, however, when the Chinese 13th seeds took the opening game, before Ahmad and Natsir bounced back in the second to level the scores.

The deciding game saw them dominate proceedings, and they successfully overcame a late charge from Wang and Huang to round out a 19-21 21-15 21-18 victory.

The third seeds will now face Hong Kong pair Lee Chun Hei Reginald and Chau Hoi Wah, after they dispatched second seeds Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong of China.

“It was a close match, we have to focus for the semi-finals because we want to perform better than today,” said Natsir.

“Many top seeds have fallen, we’ll face a Hong Kong pair in the next round.

“In this tournament anything can happen, because we’ve seen top seeds falling so we still have to focus on that match.”

Ahmad added: “We focused a lot today, the match wasn’t easy and it was very close but we made it to the end."

In the men’s singles, Viktor Axelsen also sealed his place in the last four after defeating sixth seed Chou Tien Chen in three games.

The Dane, who won bronze in Copenhagen three years ago, clinched victory in the first game, and looked to be wrapping it up in the second before Chou mounted a late comeback to take it into a decider.

But from there, it was advantage Axelsen as he took victory with a 21-18 20-22 21-16, and he couldn’t be more delighted to have progressed as he sets his sights on Europe’s first men’s singles world title since 1997 - won by fellow Dane Peter Rasmussen in Glasgow.

“To win three games was really nice for me, so of course I’m really happy at the moment,” said Axelsen.

“Right now it is really tough to say anything, I just came out of a really thrilling match.

“I am starting to cramp up so much already because it went to three sets, but to get the win means I am really happy at the moment.

“It's my goal to win as many medals as possible for myself and for Denmark, so to have already secured one is a huge achievement - I am overwhelmingly happy right now.”

Elsewhere, 2013 world champion Ratchanok Intanon saw her campaign in Scotland ended by ninth seed Chen Yufei, the Chinese shuttler winning in three games.

But two-time bronze medallist P.V. Sindhu made no mistake in sealing her third medal on the world stage, breezing past Sun Yu 21-14 21-9.

Sindhu is now just one win away from the gold medal match, and is determined to make amends for years gone by.

“I’m feeling happy and it was very important for me to win that match because I lost in the quarter-finals in the last World Championships,” she said.

“Before that, I won bronze twice so I was very eager to go to the semi-finals so I just gave my best and played my game.

“I will give my heart and play my best because the semi-finals of the World Championships are never easy.”

The TOTAL BWF Badminton World Championships 2017 is being staged at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena from 21-27 August. Tickets are still available for the Semi-Finals.

Article by Sportsbeat. 

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