World No 1 Axelsen and Japanese ace Momota through to Malaysia Open semis and aim to set mouth-watering final affair

Kento Momota of Japan will take on Thailand's Kunvalut Vitidsarn in the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open on Saturday (July 2) at the Arena Axiata in Bukit Jalil. - S.S.Kanesan/The Star

Kuala Lumpur, July 2, 2022 (AFP): Badminton world number one Viktor Axelsen continued to flex his dominance as he outplayed Indonesia's Anthony Sinisuka Ginting Friday (July 1) to surge into the Saturday's semi-finals of the Malaysia Open.

The Danish ace had to battle back after going a game down against Ginting to win 18-21, 21-17, 21-12 in a thrilling 65-minute match in front of a packed Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.

The first game was a tense affair that Ginting nicked at the end, but Axelsen recovered with an impressive victory in the second game.

The deciding game was a mental test as much as a physical one, which Axelsen aced by tirelessly working his opponent around to secure a deserved win.

The reigning Olympic champion later said he felt like a "spring chicken" after extending his unbeaten record to 13 matches.

"Today was a really close game, and I think it's about small periods during the sets which makes the biggest difference," Axelsen told reporters.

"It was a really intense game. I'm happy with how I managed to play and come out on top," he said.

Axelsen will face Indonesia's Jonatan Christie next.

In another quarter-final, Japanese badminton ace Kento Momota also checked into the last four after his opponent Shesar Hiren Rhustavito was forced to retire hurt after he felt a sharp pain in his right ankle and immediately dropped to the floor in agony.

Earlier in the match, Momota got off to an explosive start and led the Indonesian 13-6 in the first game, before Rhustavito's campaign ended prematurely.

The Indonesian athlete left the court on a wheelchair.

Momota later admitted he had doubts about his form leading up to the tournament.

"I had no confidence stepping to court in my current form. But I have now qualified to the last four, and that should give me some confidence. I am going to give my best in the semi-finals and hopefully get a good experience," he said.

Momota will take on Thailand's Kunvalut Vitidsarn in the semi-finals.

Taiwanese star Tai Tzu-ying, the 2018 champion, meanwhile lived up to expectations in the women's singles after she overcame P.V. Sindhu 13-21, 21-15, 21-13 to set up a mouth-watering clash against China's Chen Yu Fei.

Thai stalwart Ratchanok Intanon will contest the other semi-final against Wang Zhi Yi of China. - AFP

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Axelsen , Momota , Good Form , Semis , Malaysian Open


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