Glasgow: Viktor Axelsen of Denmark produced a remarkable display of aggressive, all-court badminton to beat two-time defending champion, Chen Long 21-9, 21-10 in 39 minutes in the semi-finals of World Championships on Saturday.
In a near-flawless display, the Danish third seed quickly surged ahead with 7-1, 13-2 in the first set, and took the first set at 21-9. Olympic champion Chen Long briefly led 5-3, 6-4 early in the second game, nonetheless, Axelsen started to attack with the mix of strong smashes toward Chen Long’s right baseline together with excellent net play, overpowering Chen Long 21-10 in the second set to become the first Denmark player to reach the men’s final at the Badminton World Championships in 16 years.
“It was nice to exact my revenge for my loss to Chen in the Olympic semi-finals, I made very few errors today and I am really excited. I never expected to win the match so easily,” said Axelsen.
“Viktor played extremely well today, I will get some rest and go home to play in the National Chinese Championships. In the first set, I scored the first point, then lost a lot of the next, that really affected my rhythm,” said Chen Long.
Peter Rasmussen was the last Denmark player to win the World Championships. Rasmussen defeated Sun Jun of China in the 1997 World Championships final to lift the title. The 1997 World Championships final between Rasmussen and Sun was also the longest ever recorded badminton match at that time, it lasted 124 minutes. Interestingly enough, the 1997 World Championships was also held in Glasgow, Scotland. If Axelsen could become the next Danish player to win the World title in the same city and same country after 20 years, that would put him on the road to bigger stardom and would bring Danish badminton back to its glory days.
Viktor Axelsen is set to take on No. 7 seed Lin Dan in the final on Sunday.
In a surprisingly straight forward match, five-time world champion Lin Dan turned back the clock to brush past No. 1 seed Son Wan Ho of Korea 21-17, 21-14 in other men’s singles semi-finals on Saturday.
“People keep saying that I am getting old. In reality, I work as hard, if not harder than my junior every day,” said Lin Dan.
“My goal is to give my best performance every time I step on the court,” added Lin.
If Lin Dan could defeat Axelsen in the men’s singles final on Sunday, he would create history by becoming the first shuttler to ever win a record six World Championships title.
Mohammad Ahsan of Indonesia became the only defending champion left in the tournament when he and his new partner Rian Agung Saputro took care of the speedy Japanese pair No. 4 seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda 21-12, 21-15 in 37 minutes. Mohammad Ahsan had won the 2013 and 2015 World Championships men’s doubles title with former Olympic champion Hendra Setiawan.
Ahsan/Saputro will take on No. 8 seeds Liu Cheng/Zhang Nan of China for the 2017 World title.