(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Axelsen closer to the podium after win against Wang Tzu Wei
Date: 7/29/2021 1:08 PM
Published by : Sara Gonzalez Martinez (BEC)
The world number two Dane is on the lookout for a second Olympic medal as he secures spot in quarterfinals.

Viktor Axelsen won bronze in 2016 Rio Olympics, and he could be winning a medal again. The Dane, who had previously faced Austria’s Luka Wraber and Finland’s Kalle Koljonen — who he also met in the European Championships semifinals earlier this year —, had a smooth start to his second Olympics by winning both matches in straight sets.

A sought-after clash for Wang
Standing on his way for a spot in the quarterfinals was Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei. The number 10 seed had also had a satisfactory run in the event so far, although not without difficulties. Irish player Nhat Nguyen was not willing to give up on his Olympic debut so soon and got to stretch out the match against Wang to three games, but the player from Chinese Taipei got to halt his opponent from taking his spot in the Round of 16.

After yesterday’s match, Wang Tzu Wei expressed his willingness to play against the number four seed.

- At the beginning of the year I was hoping to play him, but I didn't. I lost in the semifinals in Bangkok. I look forward to playing him finally tomorrow, Wang said.

Playing at a high level
It was a strong start for Axelsen in the first few points of the match, announcing how the pace of the clash would be. Still, Wang Tzu Wei almost caught up with him in his enormous efforts to stop the Dane from getting hold of the match.

- I think it's really important that I felt under pressure at times during the match today. There's not a big gap between feeling really well and not feeling good, so I managed to play the right shots which made me relax. That's why the score may look confident, but I'm really happy about the way I played at a high level, Axelsen said.

Wang did not give up easily despite Axelsen dominating throughout the encounter and challenged him, but he could not stop the Dane from earning yet another triumph that would be taking him to the quarterfinals.

Too much pressure on a star
This was a special event for Japan’s Kento Momota as he got to play the Olympics on home soil, and he was a clear favourite to reach the podium. However, the Japanese star had to wave goodbye to the Olympics after losing to Korean Heo Kwanghee after an excellent performance from the unseeded Korean player.

- I don't think anyone expected that but again, we have to respect that Momota has been through a lot the past two years. He hasn't played that much internationally and to be honest, there's been so much pressure on him for obvious reasons here. I respect him a lot and it's good to see him back healthy. He'll come back for sure, Axelsen explained.

With Momota out of the way, the two European favourites Viktor Axelsen and Anders Antonsen might be closer than ever to getting their hands on a medal at this year’s Olympics, although they’ll be competing for it just as hard as fellow participants — including another favourite for the gold, Chou Tien Chen, Chinese Taipei. 
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