In All England shocker, Ng Tze Yong sends defending champ Axelsen packing


In the biggest win of his career, Ng knocked out defending champion Axelsen. — Photo from

LONDON (March 17): Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen was one of three defending champions to crash out on a day of shocks at the All England Open.

AFP reported reigning Olympic champion Axelsen suffered a stunning 21-18, 9-21, 23-21 loss to Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong in the men’s singles second round on Thursday.

“It’s one of the most special tournaments to me,” Axelsen said.

“It’s one of the biggest on the circuit so I want to do well. And when you fail. It’s tough.”

Axelsen’s loss followed on from compatriot Anders Antonsen beating 2022 runner-up Lakshya Sen in straight games, meaning neither of last year’s finalists reached even the last eight.

Axelsen’s exit was part of a sequence of unexpected departures for the big guns.

Japanese duo Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida, the defending women’s doubles champions, were lost 18-21, 21-19, 21-9 to South Korean pair Baek Ha Na and Lee So Hee.

Japan’s Yuta Watanabe and Arisa Higashino were chasing their third successive title in Birmingham in the mixed doubles.

However, they struggled against Korean pair Kim Won Ho and Jeong Na Eun, and trailing 23-21, 13-7, the pair were forced to retire when Watanabe sustained an injury.

Their exit makes China’s top-seeded Zheng Si Wei and Huang Ya Qiong stronger favourites after they saw off Chun Hei Reginald Lee and Tsz Yau Ng, representing Hong Kong, 20-22, 21-14, 21-18.

In the women’s singles, second seeded South Korean An-Se Young beat Pai Yu Po from Taiwan 21-3, 21-7.

She next plays 2015 champion Carolina Marin of Spain, who marked her return to the tournament with victory over Beiwen Zhang of the United States.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that national top men’s singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia has booked a berth in the All England quarter-finals.

The world number four ousted Japanese player Kenta Nishimoto 21-15, 21-10 in just 40 minutes in the second round early today.

Zii Jia began the 2023 season without qualifying for the quarter-finals of all four tournaments he participated when he was eliminated in the first round in Malaysia Open, followed by second round in the India Open, Indonesia Masters and the latest German Open last week.

The 2021 All England champion will face another Japanese player, Kodai Naraoka in the quarter-final action which is expected to start at 6pm today (Malaysia time).

Naraoka has beaten Zii Jia once at the Malaysia Open last January. — Bernama