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Axelsen visibly stunned by Chen Long’s comeback (Photo: Badminton Photo)
Axelsen agonisingly denied the final
Date: 10/19/2019 7:53 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
After successfully avenging last year’s early Denmark Open exit against his compatriot Anders Antonsen in the quarterfinal, seventh seeded Viktor Axelsen faced a tough test against a man who has won this event four times, Chen Long. 

Axelsen had clearly marked the return to his birthplace of Odense as the tournament to get back to the terrific form he was in at the beginning of the year, prior to his injury troubles. There were visible nerves at times against Antonsen, but there was a renewed confidence from the tall Dane in today's semifinal. 

The opening exchanges in the first game demonstrated great court coverage from both players and neither were giving much away. Axelsen eventually found the angles needed to pressurise Chen Long into making some errors of judgement, leading to a flurry of quick points finishing the game 21-12. 

In the second game, Chen Long increased the tempo and began stepping into the net a lot more. The number five seed almost exactly mirrored the opening game, as after an even start, he ran away with the game, setting-up an intriguing decider. 

The third game began evenly too, until Axelsen fell into a nice rhythm, winning eight straight points to swap sides 11-4 up. Seemingly an unattainable lead, Chen Long chipped away at it, targeting Axelsen’s forehand and taking even more risks at the net. Through this he built a momentum that caught Axelsen by surprise, bringing the tension back to his game. Chen Long completed his incredible smash and grab comeback to win 21-19. This agonisingly has denied Denmark from a men’s singles finalist since 2010. 

Chen Long will play reigning champion Kento Momota in the final, which will be a repeat of the entertaining semifinal of the China Open last month, where Kento got the win in three tight games. 

For the full results and fixtures, click here.

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