It’s the end of Axelsen’s reign – thanks to Anders

This handout from the Badminton Association of Thailand taken and released on January 30,2021 shows Spain's Carolina Marin hitting a shot against Thailand's Pornpawee Chochuwong during their women's singles semi-finals match at the World Tour Finals badminton tournament in Bangkok. (Photo by Handout/ various sources/ AFP)/ -----EDITORS NOTE --- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/ BADMINTON ASSOCIATION OF THAILAND " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

PETALING JAYA: Viktor Axelsen of Denmark is finally defeated!

The Dane’s 29-match unbeaten streak came to an end when the world No. 4 lost 16-21,21-5,17-21 to compatriot Anders Antonsen in the men’s singles final of the World Tour Finals at Impact Arena in Bangkok yesterday.

The defeat prevented him from making a clean sweep of all the three-tournament series in Bangkok. He was the winner of the two Thailand Opens the previous weeks.

Before yesterday, Axelsen has not tasted defeat since he was last defeated by Anthony Ginting of Indonesia in the semi-finals of the Indonesian Masters in January last year.

He has been invincible ever since, leading his country to victory at the European Men’s Team Championship and clinched four World Tour titles that included Spain Masters and All-England before the Covid-19 pandemic brought the season to a halt.

It was a well-deserved victory for the 23-year-old Antonsen, who returned to winning ways after losing to Liew Daren in the first round of the first Thailand Open and compatriot Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the semi-finals of the second Open.

In the women’s singles, world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying of Taiwan denied Spaniard Carolina Marin from winning a treble after scoring a sensational 14-21,21-8,21-19 win in an epic 67-minute final.

Revenge was certainly sweet for Tzu-ying as she had lost to Marin in the last two Opens.

It is Tzu-ying’s third title in the season-ending event having also winning the 2014 and 2016 editions in Dubai.

But the day clearly belonged to Tzu-ying’s compatriots Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin, who made it three titles on the trot in the men’s doubles when the world No. 7 beat defending champions Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia 21-17,23-21 to walk away with a US$126,000 (RM509,000) jackpot.

This brought their total winnings to a whopping US$274,000 (RM1.1mil) from three tournaments as they had also pocketed US$74,000 (RM300,000) each from the last two titles.

Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai gave home fans plenty to cheer when they won their third consecutive crown. The home pair beat South Korea’s Seo Seung-jaie and Chae Yu-jung 21-18,8-21,21-8.

n Men’s singles: Anders Antonsen (Den) bt Viktor Axelsen (Den) 21-16,5-21,21-17.

n Men’s doubles: Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe) bt Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan (Ina) 21-17,23-21.

n Women’s singles: Tai Tzu-ying (Tpe) bt Carolina Marin (Spa) 14-21,21-8,21-19.

n Women’s doubles: Lee So-hee-Shin Sheung-chan (Kor) bt Kim So-yeong-Kong Hee-yong (Kor) 15-21,26-24,21-19.

n Mixed doubles: Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Seo Seung-jae-Chae Yu-jung (Kor) 21-18,8-21,21-8.

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