Malaysia Open: Viktor Axelsen, Lin Dan enter second round, Chen Long crashes out

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Viktor Axelsen confident his form will pick up following a slow start at the Malaysia Open. (photo: Bernama)
Viktor Axelsen confident his form will pick up following a slow start at the Malaysia Open. (photo: Bernama)

Kuala Lumpur: The World No. 1 men’s singles player Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan have entered the second round of Malaysia Open held at the Axiata Arena, KL Sports City, Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Axelsen was made to sweat by unseeded, Khosit Phetpradab of Thailand in the opener. Phetpradab caused a few problems for the top seed, particularly in the second set as he had been leading the Dane pretty much the whole set to win 21-18. Nevertheless, Axelsen managed to comeback to clinch victory with 21-17, 18-21, 21-13 in a 57 minutes battle.

Axelsen will take on another Thai shuttler, Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in the second round on Thursday.

“The first round is always difficult especially against players from Thailand because they are aggressive and good in attacking,” said Axelsen.

“I am going to have a one-day rest before meeting another Thai player on Thursday. I expect it to be another tough game, but I will try to play my best,” added Axelsen.

Meanwhile, defending champion, Lin Dan pounced immediately at the start of the opener to gain strong momentum and eased through the rest of the match, finishing with 21-17, 21-8 against Vincent Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong in 37 minutes.

Lin is set to take on his junior Shi Yuqi in the second round. Surprisingly, Shi held a 3-1 head to head advantage against Lin in their career meetings.

“Shi Yuqi is young and energetic and has been the best player for China so far this season,” said Lin.

In what’s likely to be the biggest upset of the day, unseeded Kantaphon Wangcharoen of Thailand outplayed Rio Olympic champion and No. 5 seed Chen Long 23-21, 21-5 to set up a second-round fight with Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia.

“Beating Chen Long was definitely the best achievement in my career,” said Wangcharoen.

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