IT’S still a long way to go but Malaysia’s World No. 28 Ng Tze Yong has stormed into the quarter-finals of the All-England Open 2023 in Birmingham last night (March 16) by sending world No. 1 and defending champion Viktor Axelsen packing – the biggest feat in his badminton career thus far.
The Johor-born Tze Yong who was making his debut in the prestigious tournament, fought bravely to come away with a sensational 21-15, 9-21, 23-21 victory in the men’s singles second round match.
The decider was nerve-wracking as the Olympic champion Axelsen who was trailing 15-19, fought back and went on to take the lead at 20-19. Below is how Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh reacted to Tze Yong’s surprise victory:
However, the 22-year-old who is coached by Hendrawan, paced himself – and backed with mental strength –converted his first match-point opportunity to win the third game at 23-21 in a match that lasted 69 minutes.
He will meet China’s World’s No. 14 Li Shi Feng who defeated compatriot Zhao Jun Peng 21-9, 21-17 for a place in the semi-finals tomorrow. In the first round, Tze Yong on Tuesday (March 14), Tze Yong has disposed of Indonesia’s Shesar Hiren Rhustavito in straight sets of 21-9, 21-12.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” Tze Yong told the Badminton World Federation (BWF) website. “I didn’t think too much before the match. I just wanted to go all out. I just tried to calm down when he had those two match points.”
But Axelsen was distraught at having blown two match points.
“I put everything into this, so of course I’m disappointed,” the Dane told the BWF website. “It’s one of the most special tournaments to me, and when you fail, it’s tough. He played well and I made too many mistakes. He deserved the win.”
Added the Dane who has been in each of the last four finals – winning two –along the way:
“It wasn’t to be today. I didn’t feel well, I made too many mistakes and the drift was way more than usual. I had two match points, should have used some experience to win one of those, but that’s how it is.”
Interestingly, Tze Yong’s victory must have rubbed off on compatriot and World No. 4 Lee Zii Jia who is struggling with his form. The tip national shuttler was in his element when he easily dumped Japan’s Kento Nishimoto in straight sets 21-15, 21-10 to set up an encounter with rising Japanese star Kodai Naroka at today’s quarter-finals. – March 17, 2023
Pics credit: Badminton World Federation (BWF)