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Viktor Axelsen matches Lee Chong Wei’s record

12/4/2021 7:50 PM |  BadmintonEurope.com |  Yash Sharma
The reigning Olympic champion is the sole European representative in the World Tour Finals’ final.

Viktor Axelsen reached a record-tying fifth final of the year-end tournament. With the Dane’s arch-rival Kento Momota withdrawing early on, he had a smooth ride. Axelsen barely broke sweat as he clinically outplayed Lakshya Sen. The Indian talent had no opportunity. Leading 12-1 in the second game, the World No. 2 won 21-13, 21-11. He faces another youngster tomorrow.

Kunlavut Vitidsarn kept up a poised playing style and capitalised on the rare chances that came his way. Consequently, the Thai beat the reigning All England champion Lee Zii Jia 21-18, 21-18, avenging the group stage loss. 

A thriller on the cards
Pusarla V. Sindhu always finds a way to beat Akane Yamaguchi when it matters the most. Often touted as a big tournament player, Sindhu reached her third year-end tournament final. The Indian overcame an in-form but exhausted Japanese in a three-game battle: 21-15, 15-21, 21-19. 

The reigning world champion will have her work cut out as she seeks to win a second title. Sindhu will have to battle past An Se Young. The Korean prodigy frustrated a feisty Pornpawee Chochuwong yet again. She emerged victorious: 25-23, 21-17. 

The home favourites
As the other top pairs get used to the Indonesian brand of men’s doubles, Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/ Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo have finally decided to dig deep and grind it out. The Minions again avenged their critical Tokyo loss to the eventual Olympic champions Lee Yang/ Wang Chi Lin: 18-21, 23-21, 21-17. They face Takuro Hoki/ Yugo Kobayashi in a final for the third time in three weeks. The Japanese overcame Ong Yew Sin/ Teo Ee Yi 21-18, 21-15. 

The Japanese might
The women’s doubles final will feature Nami Matsuyama/ Chiharu Shida against Kim Soyeong/ Kong Heeyong. While the Japanese barely made it past the Olympic champions Greysia Polii/ Apriyani Rahayu 21-14, 13-21, 23-21, the Koreans simply got a walkover. Their to-be opponents Stoeva sisters did not contest the semifinal. 

In a repeat of the Indonesia Open mixed doubles title match, Yuta Watanabe/ Arisa Higashino will try to reverse last week’s result. They were in control at the decisive moments against Tang Chun Man/ Tse Ying Suet. Having won 19-21, 21-9, 21-19, the Japanese square off against Dechapol Puavaranukroh/ Sapsiree Taerattanachai. The Thai duo was just too good for the veterans Chan Peng Soon/ Goh Liu Ying: 21-8, 21-18. 

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