Viktor Axelsen, Lin Dan and Daren Liew lose at Korea Open

2018 has not been a great year for Viktor Axelsen so far. (photo: AFP)
2018 has not been a great year for Viktor Axelsen so far. (photo: AFP)

Seoul: China’s unseeded Zhao Junpeng has upset Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, eliminating the former World No. 1 in the China Open second round on Thursday. Zhao now moved on to face Jonatan Christie of Indonesia in the quarterfinals.

Zhao surprised everybody, including himself by battling past Viktor Axelsen 27-25, 21-9 in just 34 minutes, to send the current World No. 3 crashing out of the China Open.

“I was playing calmly. I have lost to him twice and I don’t think today’s victory a big upset because Axelsen was making quite a lot of mistakes especially in the second set,” said Zhao after the match.

Jonatan Christie, on the other hand, defeated Hong Kong’s Hu Yun comfortably 21-12, 21-14.

The five-time World Champion Lin Dan battled for three-set before going down to No. 6 seed Kenta Nishimoto of Japan 21-10, 16-21, 11-21. Nishimoto will face No. 2 seed Kento Momota on Friday.

In a one-sided match, Indonesia’s Tommy Sugiarto held off Malaysia’s independent player Daren Liew 21-15, 21-16 to enter the quarter-finals. Sugiarto will take on Korean qualifier Heo Kwang Hee – who stunned No. 3 seed Son Wan Ho 15-21, 21-13, 24-22.

In men’s doubles, Malaysia’s independent pair Chooi Kah Ming/Low Juan Shen saw off No. 7 seeds Liao Min Chun/Su Ching Heng of Taiwan 21-19, 21-16 to face Kittinupong Kedren/Dechapol Puavaranukroh of Thailand in the last eight. Another Malaysian young pair Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik also breezed past Chinese pair Huang Kaixiang/Wang Zekang 21-16, 21-11 in 22 minutes to take on No. 8 seed Japanese Hiroyuki Endo/Yuta Watanabe next.

Korea’s Lee Yong-Dae who has won the Korea Open in either the men’s doubles or mixed doubles in 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016, alongside his current partner Kim Gi-Jung, showed off their dominance in men’s doubles by beating No. 1 seeds Takeshi Kamura/Keigo Sonoda of Japan 18-21, 21-10, 21-9. Lee/Kim will meet another Japanese pair Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi for a spot in the semi-final.


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