Danish badminton star Viktor Axelsen claimed his fifth BWF Tour title of the year at the Kumamoto Masters Japan 2023 defeating world No. 7 Shi Yuqi (People’s Republic of China) in the final 22-20, 21-17 on Sunday (19 November).
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion started the match attacking with great precision to race to an 11-5 lead at the mid-game interval.
Following the break, Shi raised his game taking five consecutive points to narrow the gap down to just one point.
It was a tight affair with neither shuttler wanting to give away any easy points. The Dane managed to keep a cool head and secure the first game 22-20.
The second game was just as close. Axelsen took an 11-9 advantage but the men’s singles Asian Games silver medallist defended well, came back and turned the tables to grab a 15-14 lead.
Axelsen stepped it up a notch again, dominated Shi at the net and wrapped up the game 21-17 to claim the Japan Masters for the first time in his career.
“It was a men’s singles match at a really high level,” Axelsen said. “Shi Yugi is a really strong opponent, and if he had managed to win the first game, it could have gone either way. Victory or not, I am really proud of my performance and the level I played at.”
Before the tournament, Axelsen’s participation was in doubt due to a foot injury he suffered during the Denmark Open earlier this autumn.
The Kumamoto Masters Japan was Axelsen’s fifth title on the BWF Tour this year after winning the Malaysia Open, Indonesia Open, Japan Open and China Open. In addition, he clinched European Games gold at the beginning of July.
Elsewhere, in the women’s singles final, Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung caused an upset defeating Olympic champion Chen Yufei of the People’s Republic of China 21-12, 21-12.
It was the fiirst time that Tunjung won a Super 500 tournament title on the BWF Tour.
The People’s Republic of China dominated in doubles with the three finals being all-Chinese affairs. The men’s doubles final was won by He Ji Ting and Ren Xiang Yu, while Zhang Shu Xian and Zheng Yu took the women’s doubles. Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong claimed the mixed doubles title.
Featured Image: Badminton Planet