Viktor fights through fatigue to keep winning streak going

Mark of a champion: Viktor Axelsen of Denmark celebrates after beating Kento Momota of Japan in the men’s singles final.

HOW can Viktor Axelsen keep on winning?

It’s mind over matter really as the Dane overcame fatigue when he oozed class in his 21-4, 21-7 demolition of Kento Momota of Japan in just 34 minutes to lift the men’s singles title for the first time in Malaysia.

The Olympic Games champion has played three tough matches, which were dragged to the rubber game, but still found energy in his tank to outclass Momota in the one-sided final.

It was his 27th match in the last four weeks, having also captured the Indonesian Open and Masters. Not many players are able to win three titles on the trot.

Axelsen also became the first Dane in 15 years to win the Malaysian Open. The last one was Peter Gade in 2007.

While a few others are unable to cope with demanding back-to-back tournaments, Axelsen continues to show that if there’s a will, there’s a way.

“I was surprised by my level today (yesterday) to be honest. I was expecting a really tough match but I was happy with how I played,” said the 28-year-old Axelsen.

“It feels great to win my first title here. It’s an important one for me.

“Honestly, I was super tired as I have been playing a lot lately. Somehow, I managed to find some reserves of energy to play well and win against Momota.’’

Axelsen has only lost once this year – in the semi-finals of the German Open to India’s Lakshya Sen in March. He conceded a walkover in the second round of the Swiss Open, bagged the All-England and European Championship.

Axelsen, however, knows when not to push it. He is now unsure about his participation in the Malaysian Masters starting tomorrow.

“I can’t confirm yet if I will play in the Masters. I need to think first and make a decision on this,” said Axelsen.

In the women’s singles, Thailand’s world No. 8 Ratchanok Intanon scored a rare victory over China’s reigning Olympic Games champion Chen Yufei when she prevailed 21-15, 13-21, 21-16 in 65 minutes.

The win was the Thai’s third in 18 meetings with Yufei.

It also ended Ratchanok’s two-year title drought as she last tasted victory in the 2020 Indonesian Masters.

“I knew I will win a title again although I had to wait quite a bit for this moment. I didn’t think I was a bad player when I had the dry spell and kept believing in myself. So, I am thankful for this win,” said Ratchanok.

“I’m in good shape right now. So, I believe that with the right mentality, I can go on and keep challenging for more titles,” said the 27-year-old.

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