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
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
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
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
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