Badminton-India bags women’s bronze; Axelsen, Chen to meet for men’s gold – Reuters

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Badminton – Men’s Singles – Semifinal – MFS – Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, Tokyo, Japan – August 1, 2021. Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in action during the match against Kevin Cordon of Guatemala. Pool via REUTERS/Lintao Zhang

TOKYO, Aug 1 (Reuters) – India’s PV Sindhu followed up her silver from 2016 with a women’s badminton singles bronze at Tokyo 2020 on Sunday, paying tribute to her fans after beating China’s He Bing Jiao 21-13 21-15.

“A medal for the country, and at the Olympics is not so easy,” an emotional Sindhu said after the nearly hour-long match. “A lot of Indian fans showed me that love and support and I’m very, very thankful to each one of them.”

Earlier in the men’s event, Kevin Cordon’s fairytale run men’s singles came to an end in the semi-finals when the 59th-ranked Guatemalan was knocked out 21-18 21-11 by world number two Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.

Axelsen said playing such an underdog meant the pressure was all on him.

“Everybody who has a little bit of badminton knowledge could see that this was really tense and not that pretty of a game,” Axelsen said. “I don’t think you can find a match where there was more pressure on me than this one.

“I’m more relaxed with a silver medal secured, and now I’m going for gold.”

Steen Pedersen, a former coach of the Danish national team, said Cordon had faced an entirely different level of player in Axelsen.

“Kevin has done extremely well but he was up against a different level of player,” he said. “Viktor has spent almost no energy in previous matches – he’s played very well, he’s played clinically.”

China’s Chen Long, the champion from the 2016 Rio Games, also advanced to the final after beating Indonesia’s Anthony Sinisuka Ginting 21-16 21-11

“I hope to be able to express the best of myself tomorrow,” Chen said ahead of Monday’s final.

While Ginting was disappointed not to be going for gold, he was determined not to come away with nothing.

“It is what it is… But I have to move on as soon as possible because tomorrow I still have one more medal, the last medal,” said Ginting.

Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Peter Rutherford and John Stonestreet

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