Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen was knocked out of the All England Badminton Open by Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong in the men’s singles second round here on Thursday.
Axelsen, 29, started his title defence in Birmingham arduously as the big Dane came from behind to beat his first opponent Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong, China 19-21, 21-15 and 21-11 on Tuesday.
The reigning world and Olympic champion faced a similar situation on Thursday as 22-year-old Ng collected six points in a row after 15-15 to win the first game.
Although the world No. 1 pulled one back 21-9, he was edged out by Ng 23-21 in the decider.
“It’s one of the most special tournaments to me and one of the biggest on the circuit, so you want to do well, and when you fail, it’s tough obviously,” said Axelsen.
“He played well and I made too many mistakes. There’s a winner and there’s a loser and he deserved the win. Unfortunately for me it wasn’t enough.”
The tournament’s debutant Ng reached the quarterfinals and his next opponent is China’s Li Shifeng, who defeated teammate Zhao Junpeng 21-9 and 21-17.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” said Ng. “I just kept concentrating on every single point and tried not to make simple mistakes.”
Ng’s compatriot Lee Zii Jia also secured a quarterfinal berth as the 2021 champion saw off Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto 21-15, 21-10.
In the women’s singles, China’s Olympic champion Chen Yufei edged out Thailand’s Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-18, 24-22.
“It was a very challenging match today,” said 25-year-old Chen. “My opponent performed really, really well. She limited my performance on court but I’m really glad to be able to win the match.”
Chen’s teammate He Bingjiao set up a quarterfinal encounter with former world No.1 Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei after the fifth-seeded He fought hard to beat compatriot Zhang Yiman 24-22, 18-21, 21-12.