Axelsen set to reclaim world No. 1 after winning Indonesian Open crown


Danish delight: Viktor Axelsen celebrating on the podium. — AFP

PETALING JAYA: Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen will reclaim the world No. 1 spot from Japan’s Kento Momota – a status that fits him perfectly as the best men’s singles shuttler on the planet at the moment.

In Bali yesterday, the 27-year-old was crowned Indonesian Open champion after ending Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew’s splendid run with a hard-fought 21-13, 9-21, 21-13 win in what was billed as the clash between a master and his disciple.

It was the Dane’s eighth title in 13 individual tournaments including the Tokyo Olympics gold medal.

These results were crucial in helping him snatch back the world No. 1 spot he surrendered to Momota on Sept 26 in 2018.

For Kean Yew, the Penang-born shuttler can walk tall after proving that his great run was no fluke by emerging runner-up in a tournament of such stature.

A one-month training stint with Axelsen in Dubai in September has worked wonders for the world No. 26 as he has improved by leaps and bounds.

Apart from winning the Dutch Open and pipping Lee Zii Jia to the Hylo Open last month, Kean Yew continued to make heads turn by defeating higher ranked opponents, most notably Momota, last week and Taiwan’s world No. 4 Chou Tien-chen (in the first round of Hylo Open).

In the men’s doubles final, Indonesia’s world No. 1 Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya exacted sweet revenge on Japan’s Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi to notch a hattrick of titles in the tournament.

Marcus-Kevin outplayed the high-flying Japanese duo 21-14, 21-18 to make up for last week’s heartbreaking defeat at the Indonesian Masters which denied them a fourth victory on the trot.

FINAL RESULTS

Men’s singles: Viktor Axelsen (Den) bt Loh Kean Yew (Sin) 21-13, 9-21, 21-13.

Men’s doubles: Marcus Fernaldi-Kevin Sanjaya (Ina) bt Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (Jpn) 21-14, 21-18.

Women’s singles: An Se-young (Kor) bt Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) 21-17, 22-20.

Women’s doubles: Nami Matsuyama-Chiharu Shida (Jpn) bt Greysia Polii-Apriyani Rahayu (Ina) 21-19, 21-19.

Mixed doubles: Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Tha) bt Yuta Watanabe-Arisa Higashino (Jpn) 21-12, 21-13.

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