Tze Yong’s inner confidence shines through against Axelsen

Say cheese!: Ng Tze Yong poses for a selfie with a fan after winning his second-round match against Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen. — Reuters

PETALING JAYA: It pays to be bold.

Wong Choong Hann believed that Ng Tze Yong’s brave approach in the crucial moments was key to his sensational victory over Denmark’s world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the second round of the All-England on Thursday.

National men’s singles shuttler Tze Yong, who was making his debut in the prestigious tournament, was not given any hope of winning against defending champion and title favourite Axelsen but the world No. 28 defied expectations when he fought brilliantly to come away with a 21-15, 9-21, 23-21 win in 69 minutes at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham.

The deciding game was nail-biting as Tze Yong had looked good to win after taking a 19-15 lead but the Dane fought back to stand confidently on the brink of victory at 20-19. But an equally determined Tze Yong pulled through.

“Tze Yong stood tall against the giant Axelsen yesterday (Thursday),” said Choong Hann.

“He was brave and calm and worked hard on all aspects of his game to counter the Dane’s enormous aggression.

“He also kept his focus during the crucial moments in the deciding game. This is a huge win for Tze Yong and will give him lots of confidence. He will not fear anyone after this.”

Choong Hann also revealed that Tze Yong’s meticulous preparation leading up to the tournament was crucial to the victory.

Tze Yong had diligently followed a programme to improve his physical strength for a month and a half before the tourney.

“Most of the results in tournaments boils down to preparation,” said Choong Hann.

“You need to have all the right tools to be ready for battle.

“In the end, all these will help you a little bit and give you the added confidence to get over the line and this is what happened with Tze Yong.”

While pleased with his charge’s biggest career win to date, Choong Hann insisted that Tze Yong was not a finished article just yet.

“He is not there yet and he knows it. While this win proves that he can challenge the top players, he still has a long way to go to being a complete player himself.

“So, he needs to stay humble and maintain his focus moving forward,” added Choong Hann.

Meanwhile, Tze Yong was understandably thrilled with his win.

“I feel really happy with this win,” Tze Yong said in his post-match interview with SPOTV.

“There was no pressure on me and I didn’t think too much but just gave everything on court.

Tze Yong has another tough task in the quarter-finals as he will face China’s world No. 14 Li Shifeng.

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