Viktor Axelsen triumphs over Momota Kento at Denmark Open in Odense

Playing in his hometown, the Danish Olympic champion wins just his second match over his Japanese rival in 16 career meetings.

By ZK Goh
Picture by Badmintonphoto

Olympic badminton champion Viktor Axelsen clinched the 2021 Denmark Open in his hometown of Odense with an emphatic win over world number one Momota Kento of Japan.

Axelsen, who had only won one of his prior 15 career meetings against his Japanese opponent, dropped a close-fought first game 20–22 despite having been 14–7 ahead at one stage.

However, the Dane levelled the final with a 21–18 second game before running away to a 21–12 third game in which Momota never looked like challenging.

Earlier, there were three Japanese victories – in the women's singles, men's doubles, and mixed doubles finals.

Yamaguchi Akane, the women's second seed, saw off South Korea's fifth seed An Se-young after the latter was forced to retire in the third and deciding game.

The Korean had taken the first 21–18 before Yamaguchi won a titanic second game 25–23, but the Japanese ran out to a comfortably 16–5 lead in the third before An called it quits.

Hoki Takuro and Kobayashi Yugo stunned the home fans in the men's doubles final as the unseeded pair defeated Denmark's Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen, the eighth seeds, 21–18 21–12 in straight games.

And mixed doubles fourth seeds Watanabe Yuta and Higashino Arisa made quick work of Thailand's second seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai in 37 minutes, triumphing 21–18 21–9.

China's Huang Dongping and Zheng Yu began the finals day by clinching victory in the women's doubles, seeing off South Korean second seeds Lee Sohee and Shin Seungchan 21–15 21–17.

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