Viktor Axelsen beat Lin Dan at Round 1 of Australian Open

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Viktor Axelsen is only the third European who has ever defeated Lin Dan.

Sydney: Just before midnight at Sydney, the world #9 Viktor Axelsen won over the defending champion Lin Dan of China. The 6′ 5″ Dane proved too tall an order for Lin today. The height differential became a determining factor as soon as the Chinese found cause to worry which happened right after the final change of ends in the deciding game.Viktor Axelsen is only the third European who has ever defeated Lin Dan.

In erasing that particular four points deficit to level at 11-11, the sharpness of Axelsen’s smashes and the extra court distances to cover as a result suddenly turned into causes for concern for Lin even though he was dealing fine with these scenarios early-on in this match.

 

Worry compounded worry for Lin while the young Dane grew ever more patient and produced victory to the tune of 19-21, 21-12, 21-15.

China drew first blood in evening’s proceedings when Wang Zhengming prevailed over Kashyap Parupalli of India 24-26, 21-18, 22-20, in men’s singles. This one was always going to be close a reputable preview stated and Wang agreed post match. “The way I won this match was by just playing one point at a time and making sure I notice the half opportunities in the rally when they arise. I reinforced this mindset after the first game eluded me.” Agreeing with the tournament magazine too, the Chinese added, “These days anyone in the top 20 can take out the next guy”.

In women’s singles, former world #1 and London Olympic silver medallist Wang Yihan received a taste of one’s own medicine as she came up against an athlete just as tall which erases that advantage she has over almost every other opponent apart from Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun and compatriot Li Xuerui. Sindhu’s onslaught from the outset was relentlessly assertive, every opportunity she had she’d cut the shuttle sharply down thus requiring Wang to stretch and depend heavily on retrival skills more than she would normally.

The Chinese lady only got used to the pace and angles after the second game interval with the aid of Sindhu dropping some pace on her own shots. Having leveled proceedings by taking the second, the decider became a battle of impatient Sindhu versus a frustrated Wang. With trial and error, it occurred to Wang her cut drops worked better than smashing and Sindhu made the error of judgement to swap dropping for smashes. Once lessons of temperament and strategy were remedied by both, the outcome tied again at 17-17 up to 23-all. Once deuce, it was all about bravery, Sindhu played the net when down match point and Wang gave every ounce of energy on smashes recalling Zhang Ning at the Beijing Olympic final’s closing moments. Sindhu, the better one at the net, ought not to have employed the high serve at 23. She lost it in immediately and Wang seized the advantage to ultimately convert, 18-21, 21-15, 25-23.

— AO

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