INDONESIA: Men's world number one Viktor Axelsen saw off Lee Zii Jia in a dramatic semi-final to enter the summit clash of Indonesia Open 2022 on Saturday. The Dane veered close to only his second defeat of the year from 30 matches, but the focus was unrelenting even at the end of a contest that had slipped out of his grasp. Sunday will see the world No.1 in his fourth final of the season.
The Olympic champion narrowly lost the opening game (19-21) but forced a decider after taking the second 21-11. In the third game, Axelsen was leading 20-16 until Lee made a stunning comeback with five straight points. However, the Dane held his nerve and won 23-21 after one hour and 10 minutes.
He will play against China's Zhao Jun Peng who knocked out India's Prannoy H.S 21-16, 21-15 to make his first-ever final in the BWF World Tour. "It was one of the craziest matches I've been in," said Axelsen after the match. "Big roller-coaster. It's a treat to play in these conditions. He's a really tough opponent, he just won the Asian Championships. I knew I had to be my best in the most crucial parts of the game and today I managed to do so."
"I was a bit emotional today to say the least. Today was a fun game for me, that's why I play badminton, to face these opponents. Lee Zii Jia is an amazing opponent and I was happy to get this experience today. There were so many crazy rallies at the end. However, it was fun, and we both came out with the best," he added. In the women's draw, Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei saw off Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Chen Yu Fei to book a spot in the final.
The second seed of the tournament lost the first game in 13 minutes but then tied the score in a thrilling second set (33') after saving five match points (26-24). Tai, who had lost to Chen in the last Olympic final, then comfortably won the decider and will face Wang Zhi Yi.