Badminton: Axelsen to face Nishimoto in Malaysia Masters final

Denmark's Viktor Axelsen hits a return against Malaysia's Daren Liew.
Denmark's Viktor Axelsen hits a return against Malaysia's Daren Liew.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR  (AFP) – World number one Viktor Axelsen of Denmark destroyed Malaysia’s Daren Liew 21-15, 21-11 on Saturday (Jan 20) to secure a place in the final of the Malaysia Masters.

Axelsen, 24, will play against Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto, who beat Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus 21-14, 21-19.

Despite facing a boisterous local crowd in the capital Kuala Lumpur, the cool Axelsen produced some sublime play to win the first game 21-15.

Axelsen used a lethal combination of deep forehand smashes and killer net play to defeat the Malaysian.

Liew who had beaten fourth seeded South Korean Son Wan-Ho in the first round, struggled to keep up with the moves deployed by the world number one, who subsequently sealed an easy victory in the second game 21-11.

A modest Axelsen later told reporters he was under “pressure” to book his first final of the season.

“I felt a little bit under pressure because of the drift. Daren had been playing really well from the start, and if I hadn’t been at my best, it could have been different. But I’m happy I managed to win,” he said.

In the women’s singles, world number one Tai Tzu Ying will meet Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in the final.

Taiwanese Tzu Ying, 23, put on a stunning display to recover four match points in the deciding game and beat Spain’s Carolina Marin 12-21, 21-15, 23-21.

Ratchanok, 22, beat Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi 21-15, 16-21, 21-19 to win a place in the final.

Results (x denotes seeding):

Semi-finals Men’s Singles

Viktor Axelsen (DEN x1) bt Liew Daren (MAS) 21-15, 21-11

Kenta Nishimoto (JPN) bt Hans-Kristian Vittinghus (DEN) 21-14, 21-19

Women’s Singles

Tai Tzu Ying (TPE x1) bt Carolina Marin (ESP x4) 12-21, 21-15, 23-21

Ratchanok Intanon (THA x5) bt Akane Yamaguchi (JPN x2) 21-15, 16-21, 21-19

Men’s Doubles

Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto (INA) bt Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding (DEN x5) 15-21, 21-16, 21-17

Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (MAS) bt Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi-Lin (TPE) 21-16, 21-17

Women’s Doubles

Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Christinna Pedersen (DEN x3) Lee So-Hee/Shin Seung-Chan (KOR) 21-15, 21-18

Chen Qingchen/Jia Yifan (CHN x1) bt Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (JPN x4) 15-21, 21-15, 21-14

Mixed Doubles

Tang Chun-man/Tse Ying-suet (HKG x2) bt Goh Soon Huat/Shevon Jemie Lai (MAS x8) 14-21, 21-12, 21-13

Zheng Siwei/Huang Yaqiong (CHN x5) bt Hafiz Faizal/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja (INA) 21-13, 21-16