French Open 2022 Super Series 750 is one of the important badminton tournaments on the BWF Tour. The French Open is one of the oldest international tournaments. The first tournament took place in 1908. (Subscribe to Badmintonspeak to learn about the history of badminton)
This year this tournament saw a number of surprising upsets.
With a prize purse of USD 42.000 up for grabs for each of the winners of the two single titles and USD 44.000 for each of the winners of the three doubles titles, most of the top players participated in Paris.
The week before Asian players dominated Denmark Open. At the French Open 4 of the 10 finalists were from Europe: two from Denmark, one from Spain, and one from The Netherlands.
Here follows a quick summary of the French Open 2022 for the men’s singles category:
Men’s singles with a somewhat unexpected outcome
Second seed Anders Antonsen was scheduled to play fellow Dane Rasmus Gemke in the first round. But Antonsen pulled out of the tournament due to an injury. He was substituted by Nhat Nguyen from Ireland.
3rd seed Lee Zia Jia of Malaysia surprisingly lost to Rhustavito in the first round. 4th seed Chou Tien Chen followed suit. He was ousted by Lee Cheuk Yiu, also in the first round.
And that’s not all that happened in the first round in the city of love.
Indonesian fan-favorite Anthony Ginting lost a nail-biting 3-setter to BWF 31-ranked Sameer Verma of India in the first round. (Verma exited in the second round following a 2-set loss to 3-time Junior World Champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn from Thailand).
In fact, of the 8 seeded players only 1st seed Axelsen, 7th seed Loh Kean Yew, and 8th seed Jonathan Christie made it to the second round. And since all aforementioned players were in the top part of the draw, it was quickly clear that at least one unseeded player would make it to the final. (see the draw here)
Following his (dramatic) loss to training partner Loh at Denmark Open in Odense, 1st seed Viktor Axelsen clearly had something to prove in France. After routinely winning his first and second-round matches against Japan’s Nishimoto and Thammasin of Thailand, the world number one would go on to face his nemesis, 7th-ranked Loh Kean Yew of Singapore, in the quarterfinal.
A focused and determined Axelsen came out on top – winning the quarterfinal comfortably in 2 sets.
Shortest match: 43 minutesAt the French Open 2022 in Paris
longest match: 1hr. 28 minutes
Surprisingly Axelsen’s opponent in the semifinal turned out to be young Kodai Naraoka of Japan. Unseeded Kodai Naraoka had dispatched 8th seed, Jonathan Christie of Indonesia, in the quarterfinal. That game lasted a total of 1 hour and 18 minutes.
The tall Dane overpowered a fatigued Naraoka and won by a comfortable margin in straight sets. The young Japanese, however, deserves much credit for his excellent attitude on the court.
Amazingly Rasmus Gemke of Denmark also made it to the final. It was unexpected because injury-prone Gemke’s best result in 2022 was a quarterfinal at the Indonesian Open. But at the French Open 2022, the quiet Dane proved he’s got what it takes to compete at the highest level.
His journey to the French Open 2022 final
On his way to the final, Rasmus overcame Nhat Nguyen in the first round, upset former French Open winner Kidambi Srikanth in the second, upended Thai hopeful Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the quarterfinal, and dropped Lee Cheuk Yiu in the semifinal. Along the way, Gemke played some very solid badminton – even demonstrating creativity and tactical prowess at times.
Having two European players in a men’s singles final in a Super Series 750 tournament rarely happens. This time on European soil in front of a very lively crowd (“Quand on a pas ce que l’on aime, il faut aimer ce que l’on a” ;-).
What’s more, Rasmus Gemke lost to Axelsen in the second round of Denmark Open just one week prior. He was set on giving Axelsen a fight for his money.
In France, Viktor Axelsen proved just a tad stronger than Gemke winning in straight sets. This was the first French Open title for Viktor Axelsen who dedicated the victory to his three girls at home (his wife and two daughters).
Denmark has won the men’s singles event at the French Open a total of 12 times.
Players from England have won the category a total of 15 times, and Chinese players a total of 9 times.
Past Danish winners of French Open
– Palle Granlund (1948)
– Erland Kops (1961)
– Elo Hansen (1969)
– Tage Nielsen (1973)
– Gert Helsholt (1980
– Kim Brodersen (1985)
– Ib Frederiksen (1987)
– Kenneth Jonassen (1996) Current National Coach for Denmark
– Niels Christian Kaldau (1998)
– Peter Gade (2008) Academy / Instagram
– Jan Ø. Jørgensen (2013)
– Viktor Axelsen (2022)