Great Dane Kjaersfeldt shows pedigree to bite back for gold

Baku, June 28, AZERTAC

Second seed Line Kjaersfeldt fought back from a set down to claim Denmark's second badminton gold by beating Belgian Lianne Tan in the women's singles final at Baku Sports Hall on Sunday.

The unseeded Tan had threatened to complete her dream run of victories at Baku when she took the first set 21-18.

But Kjaersfeldt, 21, who is tipped to follow in compatriot Tine Rasmussen's footsteps in the elite ranks of the women's game, held her nerve to take the second set 21-19.

She then blasted the 24-year-old Belgian 21-9 in the decider, before sinking to her knees and running to hug her coach.

Kjaersfeldt then shook hands with a still-smiling Tan, who had become the firm crowd favourite in the tournament as she buzzed around the court with a positive energy, pulling off spectacular diving shots that her compact height occasionally demanded.

She had reached Sunday's gold medal match after coming back from a set and 15-8 down in her semi-final against Spain's Clara Azurmendi, who took bronze alongside Bulgaria's former world no.8 Petya Nedelcheva.

Several favourites fell to lower-ranked opponents in the women's singles competition, with 17-year-old Azurmendi, the world no.192, knocking out top seed Linda Zetchiri of Bulgaria in the quarter-finals.

The group stages saw sixth seed Chloe Magee crash out after losing her first match to Kati Tolmoff – the Estonian who retired in 2009 and had two children before making her comeback.

Kjaersfeldt's gold on Sunday came after fellow Dane Emil Holst had lost the men's final to Spain's Pablo Abian, and a day after Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen had taken men's doubles gold for Denmark.

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