Viktor Axelsen wins, Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong suffer surprise defeat in Malaysia Masters final

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Viktor Axelsen is creating his own legacy in badminton. (photo: AP)
Viktor Axelsen is creating his own legacy in badminton. (photo: AP)

Kuala Lumpur: World No. 1 men’s singles player Viktor Axelsen of Denmark saw off a spirited challenge from World No. 29 Kenta Nishimoto of Japan to clinch the 2018 Malaysia Masters title on Sunday.

The Dane needed 72 minutes to overcome the Japanese in rubber sets, 21-13, 21-23, 21-18 to win his first title of the 2018 season. Axelsen also took home prize money of USD 26,250 (RM 103,381) for his victory.

“Kenta had beaten top seeded players such as Lee Chong Wei in the first round. He played well today, fortunately, I was able to stay calm and focus to win the title,” said Axelsen.

Viktor Axelsen celebrates after winning the Malaysia Masters. (photo: AP)
Viktor Axelsen celebrates after winning the Malaysia Masters. (photo: AP)

In addition to beating Lee Chong Wei in the first round, Nishimoto also outlasted defending champion Angus Ng Ka Long of Hong Kong in the quarter-finals and Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark in the semi-finals.

After Malaysia Masters, Axelsen will fly to Indonesia and get ready for the Indonesia Masters that will kick of the qualifying round next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, in men’s doubles final, Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong got off to a strong start by winning the first set 21-14 against Indonesia’s Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto.

Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto have huge potentials in men's doubles. (photo: AP)
Fajar Alfian/Muhammad Rian Ardianto have huge potentials in men’s doubles. (photo: AP)

Goh/Tan continued their strong start in the second set, leading 5-0, 9-5, and 18-13. Perhaps Goh/Tan have started to think about winning the title too early, the Malaysian pair lost focus on the biggest points, allowing Alfian/Ardianto reeled off six consecutive points to lead at 20-18. Although Goh/Tan once reached the championships point at 22-21, they couldn’t finish it and let Alfian/Ardianto take the second set 24-22.

In the one-sided third set, the demoralized Goh/Tan pretty much crumbled in the final game to go down to Alfian/Ardianto 21-13.

“We made a lot of errors in second set. They speed up their attacks when we were leading at 18-13 and we should have break their rhythm by slowing down the game,” said Tan Wee Kiong.

“That’s a lesson learned for us,” added Tan.

In next week’s Indonesia Masters, Goh/Tan will open against Mathias Christiansen/David Daugaard of Denmark on Wednesday.

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