Anders Antonsen Bests Viktor Axelsen; Lee Yang/Wang Chi-lin Win 3rd Straight Titles

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Anders Antonsen wins the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)
Anders Antonsen wins the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals. (photo: Shi Tang/Getty Images)

Bangkok: World No. 3 Anders Antonsen of Denmark gave compatriot World No. 4 Viktor Axelsen more than what he could handle by rallying from a set down to win the 2020 BWF World Tour Finals title on Sunday.

Axelsen came into the tournament with strong confidence after winning both the YONEX and Toyota Thailand Open in the last two weeks. However, Antonsen quickly showed Axelsen this could be a brutal match by winning the first game 21-16.

The 27-year-old Axelsen stormed back in the second set with 21-5 and forced a decider.

Antonsen was ahead during most of the third set, as he once opened up a 15-9 lead over Axelsen. But when Axelsen managed to reverse the lead at 17-16, it looked like Axelsen would go on to win his third title in Bangkok. Antonsen then took a quick towel break to wipe away sweat. After that, the regrouped Antonsen upped his intensity and aggressiveness to reel off 5 consecutive points to beat Axelsen 21-17 in the third set.

According to BWF, that victory has made Antonsen the first man to beat Viktor Axelsen in 379 days. He also ended Axelsen’s winning streak at 29. Anthony Sinisuka Ginting was the last player to beat Axelsen at the 2020 Indonesia Masters. Of course, there were no tournaments for the majority of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In men’s doubles, Lee Yang/Wang Chi-lin who were paired-up only in 2019, became the first Taiwanese men’s pair to win the BWF World Tour Finals.

Facing the defending champions, Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia, Lee/Wang came out roaring by taking an 11-4 lead in the first game. Despite Ahsan/Setiawan managed to tie the score at 14-14, and 15-15, Lee/Wang surged past the Indonesians 21-17 in the first game.

In a closely contested second set, Lee/Wang proved their mettle by holding their nerves and breaking Ahsan/Setiawan 23-21 to close out the match.

This was Lee/Wang’s third title in three weeks.

“We were a little nervous coming into the finals today,” said Lee.

“We were playing our idols. I thought: ‘Oh my god, oh my god.’ Three titles is incredible,” added Lee.

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