BANGKOK: A visibly nervous Viktor Axelsen was pushed to the brink on Saturday (Dec 10) however the world primary prevailed in a marathon semi-final in opposition to Japanese younger gun Kodai Naraoka on the season-ending badminton World Tour Finals in Bangkok.
The Badminton World Federation has moved its US$1.5 million flagship occasion to the Nimibutr Area within the Thai capital after unique host China pulled out of the match resulting from robust COVID-19 restrictions.
Axelsen’s confidence appeared to have taken a success after a shock loss a day earlier to India’s HS Prannoy – solely his third loss this yr.
Earlier this week, the Olympic champion completed Naraoka in 33 minutes within the group stage, however the 14th-ranked Japanese produced a deadly assault on Saturday and seemed a severe contender because the pair headed to inside a hours and 23 minutes.
It was a battle of nerves within the first recreation. Axelsen led by two on the interval however his opponent stepped as much as win 23-21 within the fourth recreation.
The 28-year-old Dane regrouped to assert the second 21-19 however was below fixed strain from Naraoka’s highly effective assault.
There have been epic rallies and robust web play from Naraoka within the decider however he did not have the power to shut out the match. Axelsen discovered match-point seven occasions, ultimately successful the tie-breaker 21-18.
Axelsen described the encounter as his most making an attempt of the yr.
“I respect Kodai loads, he’s an upcoming participant. He has a vibrant future,” mentioned Axelsen.
Naraoka instructed reporters that he selected the brief recreation to keep away from Axelsen’s ordinary highly effective smash winners.
Axelsen will meet Indonesian star Anthony Ginting within the last this Sunday.
Earlier, Ginting overcame compatriot Jonatan Christie in a tough fought match 21-15, 11-21, 21-18.
“Each of us know our specialties, our weaknesses… the sport was fairly robust,” mentioned Ginting who praised his buddy and opponent.
Within the girls’s draw, world champion Akane Yamaguchi defeated Olympic gold medalist Chen Yufei, 21-19, 21-10 to e-book herself a spot within the last stage of the match.
“For the second recreation, I performed effectively with all my energy and ability and the victory within the first recreation boosted my confidence and helped me win simply,” Yamaguchi instructed reporters.
Chen mentioned that his opponent is an excellent participant.
“I haven’t got an issue with my power stage, I do not assume I am decisive sufficient… I hold making changes however I believe ultimately I am too sluggish,” the Chinese language powerhouse mentioned.
This Sunday, Yamaguchi will face Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan who defeated He Bing Jiao of China within the different semi-final 21-18, 21-14.
“Tomorrow I’ll attempt to play as quick as Yamaguchi as a result of he’s sooner,” Tai instructed reporters.