Monday, January 16, 2023
TEXT BY PREM KUMAR | BADMINTONPHOTO
The world No.1 players in all the five disciplines flexed their muscles on finals day of PETRONAS Malaysia Open 2023. It has only happened once – at Denmark Open in 2018 – when the ranking-topping players swept clean the honours.
Axelsen: “I’m lucky Lee isn’t playing anymore because I’ve had the experience of taking him on in this arena and it’s no fun. I’m happy to have my name twice on the list of this legendary tournament. To perform two years in a row is a big achievement. I’m driven by the passion to improve. I try to be better every day and I feel like I still have room for improvement. It’s also no surprise Kodai is a little tired, his time on court has been more than double mine.”
Akane Yamaguchi came back from a game down to defeat An Se Young 12-21 21-19 21-11 to win her first Malaysia Open title. She made her competition debut in 2014.
Yamaguchi: “I’ve not played my best at previous editions but I was able to give a solid performance this time. I didn’t start well but I knew if stayed in the game I’d have a good chance in the decider. An was tiring and becoming slower, and I was able to take advantage.”
Alfian: “Our first Super 1000 title makes us happy and contented but we also want it to be the push to keep achieving big things. We are exhausted of playing a lot of three-game matches but we enjoyed it because it’s part of our responsibility to win (for our nation).”