Jakarta: World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen remained on course to defend the Indonesia Open he won in 2021 after beating World No. 5 Lee Zii Jia in an enthralling semi-final on Saturday.
Highlights of Lee Zii Jia vs. Viktor Axelsen in the Indonesia Open semi-finals:
Playing at the Istora Senayan Stadium, Jakarta, Lee Zii Jia got off to a strong start when he took the first game 21-19, but Axelsen managed to force a decider by winning the second 21-19.
Lee was leading 12-9 in the decider, but Axelsen started playing with stronger attacks after the interval, forcing Lee to make mistakes and to reach match point at 20-16. Lee didn’t give up by reeling off 5 consecutive points to overtake the lead at 21-20. Just when everyone thought that Lee was about to repeat another amazing comeback like what he did in the quarter-finals against Loh Kean Yew, Axelsen scored three points in a row to end the tense and nerve-shredding semi-final match with a 22-20 victory in the third set.
Axelsen will face World No. 35 Zhao Jun Peng of China in the final. Zhao defeated World No. 23 HS Prannoy of India in another men’s singles semi-final.
“Lee Zii Jia is an incredible and very strong opponent. It’s difficult to control the shuttlecock today due to the drift, but it was a fun match,” said Axelsen after the match.
“We both played very well, it was quite a fun game,” added Axelsen.
Lee also admitted Axelsen is current at his best form and is very difficult to beat.
“Right now, Axelsen is very difficult to beat, but I have given my best. The last two points in the third set were very crucial, but I was too conservative with the way I played,” added Lee.
In men’s doubles, Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik of Malaysia faltered in the last four by losing to Liu Yu Chen/Ou Xuan Yi of China 18-21, 13-21. Liu/Ou will play Choi Sol Gyu/Kim Won Ho of Korea in the final.