Madrid, Dec 14 (IANS) There was a big surprise in the BWF World Badminton Championships in Huelva, southern Spain when world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen was knocked out of the competition by Singapore's Loh Kean Yew.
Things seemed to be running to the script when Axelsen took the first set 21-14 on Monday evening, but the Dane struggled to find his game in the second set which Loh claimed 21-9 and things got even worse as the favourite took only six points in the decisive set.
"I think he played like a winner today, he definitely deserved the victory, so I wish him all the best for the rest of the tournament," said Axelsen, who admitted that his "first game was OK, but then it was something I'd rather forget."
"Pretty much everything fell apart in the second and third sets. Loh stepped up and I stepped down," he was quoted as saying by Xinhua. Loh said he was delighted with his surprise win, but confessed he had been worried that Axelsen would "get his confidence back."
"I felt he was under a lot of pressure and he wanted this very much. I'm sure he will come back stronger. I still have a long way to go, I need to be focused for my next match," he said.
Axelsen's fellow countryman Anders Antonsen, the No. 3 seed, had a much better day, beating Vladimir Malkov from the Russian Federation 21-16, 21-13.
Hong Kong's 13th seed Lee Cheuk Yiu breezed past Howard Shu of the United States 21-8, 21-14 in a match that lasted just 28 minutes, while another representative of Hong Kong, China, Yip Pui Yin defeated Kristian Kuuba from Estonia 21-11, 21-14.
In the women's singles, Chinese shuttler Zhang Yiman, ranked 46th in the world, upset Hong Kong's Cheung Ngan Yi, who is ranked 11 places above her, 21-10, 21-13.
There were mixed fortunes of Chinese players in the men's doubles, where Ou Xuanyi and Zhang Nan disposed of the Indian pairing of Arun George and Sanyam Shukla 21-15, 21-14, while Di Zijian and Wang Chang lost to the Japanese duo of Akira Koga and Taichi Saito 21-9, 21-13 as an improvement in the second set was not enough after struggling in the first.
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