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(Photo: Badmintonphoto)
Viktor Axelsen falls at the first hurdle in Huelva
Date: 12/13/2021 7:06 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
The Olympic champion was the hot favourite to take a second World Championships title but was tripped up in his first test against Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew. 

Axelsen continued to impress after reaching the ultimate glory in Tokyo, most recently winning the Indonesia Open and the World Tour Finals in Bali. Playing this many tournaments raised questions around his campaign towards gold in Huelva, but today it may have come down to pressure. 

The two players are familiar with each other through training in Dubai and they also played recently in Indonesia. The first two games of the match followed a similar pattern, Axelsen won the first game comfortably, only for Loh to strike back strongly. With Axelsen geared up for the third game, even throwing in some high serves. 

-This happened in the exact same way in Indonesia. But I am more ready this time for it and fight again in the third game, Loh. 

On this occasion, Loh was able to keep the heat on in the third game which saw Axelsen conduct some uncharacteristic unforced errors. The match ended 14-21, 21-9, 21-6. 

One of those days
A visibly disappointed Axelsen was humble in defeat and commented on what was a bad day for the BWF Player of the Year.

-I lost, that is what happened. I lost to a better player. Today was definitely one of those days that nothing really came together for me. That’s how it is. I tried to do my best, I tried to step up my game but today wasn’t it.

Meanwhile, Loh was standing with a big smile after delivering the biggest win of his career. 

-I am happy to have won against the Olympic champion. I lost to him a few weeks ago. For sure he is under a lot of pressure and wanted to win this one very badly. In the second game when the drift has changed, his shot quality and confidence was different. I just took advantage of that and training with him has helped me a lot. 

No time to cry
When asked what he thought about Loh sensing the tension on the opposite side of the net, Axelsen gazed to the distance and let out a sigh, stating. 

-Probably yes. It was a bad day at the office. Not many things went my way, and a lot of things went Loh’s way. He fully deserved the win today. I don’t really want to stand here and cry about what I could have done differently. Loh won the match, I didn’t deserve it and that’s how it is. 

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