Badminton

Axelsen and Blichfeldt help Denmark retain the European Mixed Team Championship title

Viktor Axelsen and Mia Blichfeldt delivered early wins as Denmark clinched the title for the eighteenth time in Finland

By Sanjeev Palar ·

Defending champions Denmark clinched their eighteenth European Mixed Team Championships title on Saturday (20th February), beating France 3-0 in the final to retain their crown.

The tournament in Finland features a best-of-five format, with a match played from each of the five badminton disciplines: men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles, as well as mixed doubles.

World number two Viktor Axelsen opened the scoring for the Danes with a comfortable victory over much lower-ranked Christo Popov in the men's singles.** It was the first time that Axelsen had played the teenager, and the 27-year-old wasted no time in clinching the first point on offer for his nation, winning **21-16, 21-12 in 39 minutes.

"Today, I was happy to play at a stable level and do what I could and managed to win in straight games, which is nice." - Victor Axelsen to Badminton Europe

Mia Blichfeldt immediately doubled the scoreline for the defending champions with a straight sets women's singles victory over Qi Xuefei.

The higher ranked Blichfeldt took the closely fought opening game. Qi fought back in the second and even took the lead 19-18, however the Frenchwoman could not force the decider and went down to Blichfeldt 21-18, 21-19.

Denmark's world number twelve later revealed that she was nervous and a little stiff during her warm up, and felt it was important to bring some good energy on court to help her clinch the win.

"I needed to push myself through the match today. I'm happy I won in two sets," Blichfeldt told Badminton Europe

Mia Blichfeldt celebrates victory at the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships (Credit: Badminton Europe/Koen Mutton)

The third line-up saw reigning European men's doubles champions Kim Astrup and Anders Rasmussen face off against the French duo of Ronan Labar and Julien Maio.

It was only Astrup's second match of the tournament after sitting out the group stage matches. The French needed a win to keep their title hopes alive.

However, Astrup and Rasmussen, who lost in Friday's semi-final win over Germany, were eager to make amends and came out firing on all cylinders.

They comfortably took the first game, and Labar and Maio could not respond in the second, as the Danes romped to victory 21-12, 21-14 to win the match and seal the title for Denmark. The remaining women's doubles matches and mixed doubles matches were not played.

Rasmussen shared afterwards the delight to have finished the final 3-0, and to have played the last match that clinched over all victory.

"It's a good feeling to finish this week with a victory for Anders and I, and it's a good feeling to return to Denmark with a winning feeling" - Kim Astrup to Badminton Europe

The 2021 BWF World Tour Season is set to begin with the Swiss Open, commencing 2 March 2021 in Basel.