Axelsen, Ratchanok claim singles titles at Malaysia Masters

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Sibu (Malaysia), Jan 21 (IANS) Reigning world champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon claimed the men’s and women’s singles titles at the Malaysia Masters badminton tournament here on Sunday.

Axelsen got the better of Japanese Kenta Nishimoto with a 21-13, 21-23, 21-18 victory in an hour and 12 minutes to bag his first title in 2018.

In a tournament with surprises with China’s Lin Dan, Chen Long and Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei being eliminated early, Kenta denied Axelsen an easy win, winning the second set by saving two match points, reports Xinhua news agency.

But Axelsen managed to maintain his lead in the third set and won the game.

However, Axelsen, who has stayed as World No. 1 since last September, evaded the question when he was asked at the press conference whether he thinks his time has come as the dominance of both Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei receded.

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“I played well this week, but I want to play better in the All England,” he said, adding All England is his biggest goal.

Former world champion and fifth seeded Ratchanok edged world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei 21-16, 14-21, 24-22 in an hour and five minutes.

In the men’s doubles final, the Rio Olympic silver medal-winning MAlaysian pair Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong fell to Indonesians Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto, who won 14-21, 24-22, 21-13 in 58 minutes.

Denmark’s women’s doubles pair of Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen defeated the pair of Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan 22-20, 21-18 in 44 minutes.

The mixed doubles title went to Hong Kong’s Tang Chun Man and Tse Ying Suet, who overcame China’s newly formed pair of Zheng Siwei and Huang Yaqiong 19-21, 22-20, 21-18 in 52 minutes.

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