WATCH: Axelsen reacts to maiden Dubai title

Denmark prodigy Viktor Axelsen served notice about why he has long been tipped as a future badminton champion by edging a battle of attrition against Tian Houwei to lift his first Dubai World Superseries Finals.

Matt Monaghan
by Matt Monaghan
18th December 2016

article:18th December 2016

Axelsen, 22, dug deep in an epic third set to prevail 21-14, 6-21, 21-17 as the men’s singles reached a dramatic conclusion and made up for his defeat to Japan’s Kento Momota in the same season-ending event last year.

Edging an incredible 52-shot rally against his tireless Chinese opponent while 17-16 up during the deciding stanza was to prove key to the 2010 BWF World Junior Championships winner tasting success at the seventh time of asking in Superseries showpieces.

For Axelsen, he was overjoyed to finish off in style a breakthrough year which has also included historic victory with his nation at May’s Thomas Cup and rise to no.4 in the global rankings.

Watch the Dane’s video action to his triumph above.

This was in contrast to world no.1 Tai Tzu-ying’s 37-minute stroll to reclaiming her Hamdan Sports Complex crown. The 2014 women’s singles winner from Chinese Taipei breezed past a tired Sung Jihyun of South Korea – drained by Saturday’s semi-final battle against India’s Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist PV Sindhu – by 21-14, 21-13.

Meanwhile, humble women’s champion Tai credited “fate” for her dominance in Dubai.

The 22-year-old simply kept the shuttlecock in play and watched her jaded competitor commit a series of fatal errors.

“It was fate to win this title for a second time,” said Tai.

“I had played against Sung already in the group stage and lost. I learned from that experience.

“Games against Sung are normally very intense, so I was quite surprised that it was smoother than usual.”

Elsewhere, China scooped two doubles golds on Sunday.

It was a special day for teenager Chen Qingchen as she claimed both women’s and mixed doubles crowns to take her 2016 title tally to six – which is more than any other player.

She teamed-up with Jia Yifan in the women’s event, downing Japanese Olympic gold medallists and world No1 pairing Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in a tense three-game match (21-15, 13-21, 21-17).

Only a matter of hours later, the 19-year-old then linked up with Zheng Siwei to see off England’s defending champions Chris Adcock and Gabrielle Adcock by 21-12, 21-12.

After her Dubai double, Chen revealed that she plans to buy a car for her father from the two winners’ cheques of $84,000which she will split between Jia and Zheng.

“I am super grateful and thankful for both of my partners who helped keep me motivated on court,” the Chinese shuttler said.

In the men’s doubles final, Malaysian duo Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong took the title with a brisk 40-minute 21-14, 21-19 success over Japan’s top two Takeshi Kamura and Keigo Sonoda.

It was the pair’s third title of 2016, adding to their wins in India and Denmark, as well as their Olympic silver medals in Rio.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling, we have finally achieved our targets this year – it’s been an amazing year for us,” said an overjoyed Shem after his latest success.


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