Bangkok: The match between former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and current World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the Thomas Cup last Group D tie proved to be an exciting one, with a lopsided result, where Lee Chong Wei, 35, showed he has returned to rare air with aggressive smashes, beating the 24-year-old Dane 21-9, 21-19 in 42 minutes in Bangkok.
Lee who has lost to Axelsen in their past three encounters, most recently at the Dubai World Superseries Finals in December of 2017, got off to a strong start when he raced to a 11-7 lead in the first set before wrapping up the game 21-9.
Axelsen was trying to narrow the gap several times in the second set, but Lee held his nerve to close out the second set 21-19 to win the first point for Malaysia.
“The first men’s singles is always important. I never lost to him in a team event and I was determined to win the match today,” said Lee.
“I watched some of his videos and I’ve decided to be more aggressive today. I could see Viktor was uncomfortable with my style, and I kept at it,” added Lee.
In addition to Lee Chong Wei, the rest of Malaysian team was able to put on a spirited fight against the defending champions. Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia picked up a second point for Malaysia when the 19-year-old defeated Hans-kristian Solberg Vittinghus 21-18, 21-18 in 38 minutes.
However, Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong (first men’s doubles), Aaron Chia/Teo Ee Yi (second men’s doubles) and Iskandar Zulkarnain all have gone down fighting to their Denmark opponents in three-set battles.
Malaysia will take on another strong team Indonesia on Thursday while Denmark will take on Korea in the quarter-finals.