Viktor Axelsen, Akane Yamaguchi sail to India Open Final | Badminton news


The dominance of Dane Viktor Axelsen and Japan’s Akane Yamaguchi continued as they stayed on course for a second consecutive title, heading into the final of the India Open Super 750 in New Delhi on Saturday. After world No. 1 Yamaguchi defeated Thailand’s defending champion Supanida Katethong 21-17 21-16 in the women’s singles, Axelsen, also world champion no. 1, streamlined as fourth seed Jonatan Christie of Indonesia 21-6 21-12 in the men. The top clash sees Yamaguchi take on Korean sensation An Seyoung in a repeat of last week’s Malaysia Open Super 750 final, while Axelsen takes on Thailand’s spry Kunlavut Vitidsarn.

It was a no contest in men’s singles as Axelsen, who had more time to rest after Friday’s interrupted quarterfinals, broke through a struggling Christie’s defense during the lopsided 38th minute.

Christie tried to knock the shuttle down at a steeper angle, but repeatedly landed in the net. He was also guilty of allowing his rival to use his signature jump smashes. Axelsen also used his height to reach any shuttlecock thrown at him. As a result, the opening match quickly ended 21-6.

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Axelsen was quick to open a 4-0 lead in the second game, but two errors – one went over and a forehand found the net – opened the doors for Christie as he scrambled back to 6-6.

However, the Indonesian couldn’t keep up with the pace and the shuttle wandered into the net twice, as Axelsen had a four-point lead at halftime.

Christie tried to extend the rallies and played some mouth-watering cross-court net shots, but Axelsen managed to squeeze himself out using his venomous smashes.

Another powerful smash gave him eight match points and he sealed it when the Indonesian fluffed the line.

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“I didn’t have to waste too much energy yesterday, so I was fresh today. I moved well, shots were good. I have played Vitidsarn in three different venues, so I am looking forward to a good final tomorrow”, said Axelsen.

“I know Jonatan Christie is a strong physical player so my game plan was not to go out there and run, I wanted to play aggressively and increase the pace and it really helped.” Earlier in the women’s singles semifinals, Yamaguchi rode on her superior stroke play to outscore Supanida 21-17 21-16 to make it to a second consecutive final.

Cheered on by the crowd, Yamaguchi never really seemed to get into trouble, despite Supanida showing off her artistry during the 39th minute match.

The southpaw Supanida tried to keep up with Yamaguchi and recovered from an 8-14 deficit to 17-18, but the Japanese was always one step ahead as she finished the opening game comfortably.

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Also in the second game, the two engaged in some tight rallies with Supanida amply showing off her batting repertoire, but she couldn’t handle the pressure on the Japanese, who broke from 15-16 to seal the matter. In mixed doubles, China’s duo Wang Yi Lyu and China’s Huang Dong Ping defeated Korea’s Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eun 21-15 12-21 21-19 to set up a clash with third seed Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino.

The Japanese combination had world No. 1 pair Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong 21-18 18-21 21-14 in 59 minutes.

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