Chen Long beats Viktor Axelsen to reach Malaysia Masters final

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Chen Long enjoys impressive start to new season.
Chen Long enjoys impressive start to new season.

Kuala Lumpur: The Chinese player, Chen Long, who had some ups and downs in 2018, delivered a badminton masterclass to sweep aside the 2017 World Champion, Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 21-13, 21-18 to storm into Malaysia Masters final on Saturday.

It was clear from the beginning that Chen, seeded third in the tournament, considered Axelsen to be dangerous. Chen quickly dominated the game by opening up a 11-5, 19-12 gap and claimed the first set 21-13.

Axelsen put up a good fight in the second set, but the Dane seemed troubled by his left knee injury he picked up in the quarter-finals and ultimately succumbed to Chen 18-21 in the second.

“I asked Axelsen after the match to see if he was ok, he told me he needs to get some medical check-up for his knee,” said Chen after the match.

“Playing against Son Wan-Ho in the final would be a 50/50 match. I know his playing style well because we’ve played against each other many times,” said Chen.

Chen held a 11-4 career meeting record against Son before Sunday’s final.

On the other hand, Son Wan-Ho hardly broke sweat in his men’s singles semi-final match against Daren Liew of Malaysia, after Liew granted a walkover to the Korean.

Daren told reporters that he injured his left foot after the quarter-final victory over world No. 2 Shi Yuqi of China. Therefore, he has decided to withdraw from the tournament when the pain worsened during a warm-up session Saturday morning.

“My foot hurt when I stepped on the floor this morning. It was very difficult for me to walk, and I could really feel a lot of pain during my warm-up exercises,” said Liew.

“I tried all I could until the last minute hoping that I can still compete today, but in the end I had no choice but to give a walkover as the pain is unbearable,” Liew posted on his Instagram.

In the women’s singles final, defending champion Ratchanok Intanon will set up a mouth-watering final against Carolina Marin of Spain.

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