Badminton: Axelsen, Yamaguchi emerge triumphant in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR – World No. 1s Viktor Axelsen and Akane Yamaguchi, the 2022 World Tour Finals champions, picked up from where they left off on Sunday by winning the Malaysia Open at the Axiata Arena.

Yamaguchi came from behind to beat South Korea’s fourth-ranked An Se-young 12-21, 21-19, 21-11 in the women’s singles final, while Axelsen defeated Japan’s rising star Kodai Naraoka 21-6, 21-15 to retain his men’s singles title.

World No. 7 Naraoka, who had also lost to Axelsen in semi-finals of the top-tier World Tour Finals in December, was playing in his first Super 1000 tournament, the second-highest tier of competitions in the Badminton World Federation World Tour.

The 21-year-old, who had troubled Axelsen with his speed a month ago, tried to overcome the Danish giant with a similar strategy, but looked drained after an exhausting campaign which saw him rack up 362 minutes of play over four matches en route to the final.

In the mixed doubles final, China’s world champions Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong also started 2023 the way they ended 2022 – with a title.

The top-ranked duo, who had also won December’s World Tour Finals, defeated Japan’s fourth-ranked Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino 21-19, 21-11 to clinch their fourth successive Malaysia Open crown.

It might take a while before anyone figures out how to defeat the Chinese duo, who have extended their winning run to 19 matches. Watanabe and Higashino were the last duo to have beaten them in the Japan Open semi-finals last August.


Business Asia
the authorBusiness Asia

Leave a Reply