Chen Long beats Viktor Axelsen to win China Open

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Chen Long could meet Viktor Axelsen again in the semi-finals of next week's Hong Kong Open. (photo: AP)
Chen Long could meet Viktor Axelsen again in the semi-finals of next week's Hong Kong Open. (photo: AP)

Fuzhou: Approximately 3 months after Chen Long lost to Viktor Axelsen in the semi-finals of the BWF World Championships, Chen Long lifted his spirit at the Haixia Olympic Sports Center by beating reigning World Champion Viktor Axelsen in a three-set thriller in the China Open final on Sunday.

Backed by a partisan home crowd, the No. 6 seed Chen of China kicked off the first set extremely well, winning the game over Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-16.

Axelsen then kept his cool and capitalized on Chen’s mistakes, delivering every possible smashes that aimed at Chen’s forehand baseline to claim the second set 21-14.

Chen managed to minimiz strong smashes from Axelsen in the decider by avoided lifting too many high baseline shots to the Dane. On the contrary, Chen focused on exploiting Axelsen’s forehand net shots. The strategy ended up helping Chen found his groove on his smashes, and earned a lot of points from Axelsen’s mistakes at the net. Chen eventually clinched the third set with 21-13 after Axelsen’s forehand net return couldn’t make it through to the other side of the court.

With this victory on Sunday which was also his fourth China Super Series title, Chen Long has ended his 25-month Super Series title drought with a big smile.

“I have competed in a lot of tournaments after the Olympics, but my performances have been very inconsistent,” said Chen Long.

“I kept asking myself, how I could make myself hungry for victory and stay competitive as I did during the Olympics,” added Chen Long.

“This victory allowed me to regain my motivation.”

In men’s doubles, the No. 1 seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia had never had it so good since winning the Japan Open in September. The fast and furious Indonesian duo ruthlessly exposed Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen’s slower court coverage to breeze to their fifth Super Series title of the year by outlasting Boe/Mogensen 21-19, 21-11 in 40 minutes.

It's a lot of fun to watch Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo play. (photo: AP)
It’s a lot of fun to watch Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo play. (photo: AP)

After the match, Boe/Mogensen praised the Indonesians while they were disappointed with their own performances in the final.

“We have to be in our best condition to in order to fight them. They are very good, the match was very fast, you have to play your best in front of them. They played better than us today. It’s very disappointing to be the runners-up,” said Boe.

“They played a typical Indonesian style and a little bit faster than yesterday’s semi-finals and didn’t commit easy mistakes,” said Mogensen.

Gideon/Sukamuljo have narrowed their career records against Boe/Mogensen to 3-4 after Sunday’s victory.

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