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Axelsen one win away from defending All England title

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Birmingham, March 21 (IANS) Viktor Axelsen is one win away from defending his All England Open title as the Danish shuttler edged compatriot Anders Antonsen 16-21, 21-7 and 21-17 in the semifinal.

Axelsen, 27, had lost his previous match against Antonsen in Thailand in January. The former world champion came from behind for the third time in four matches to win the semifinal.

“It means a lot to me,” said Axelsen, according to Xinhua news. “The All England is one of the biggest tournaments on the tour. It’s one of those tournaments that you really want to win. I won it last year and now I have a chance to win it again.”

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Axelsen will face Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia, who reached the final of the competition for the first time after beating Dutch shuttler Mark Caljouw 21-13 and 21-17.

On Friday, last year’s semi-finalist Lee knocked out Japanese world No. 1 Kento Momota in straight games to reach the last four for the second time in as many years.

Momota’s teammates in other categories are also doing well, with the finals of men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles all to be played between Japanese pairs.

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Nozomi Okuhara edged Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand 16-21, 21-16, 21-19 to set up a final clash with fellow Thai Pornpawee Chochuwong in the women’s singles.

Several teams such as China and South Korea skipped the competition due to concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, Indonesian players and Turkey’s Neslihan Yigit were forced to withdraw from the competition after Wednesday’s first round as they were required to self-isolate after a passenger traveling on the same flight tested positive for Covid-19.

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–IANS

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