Ng Tze Yong couldn’t have hoped for a more memorable debut at the All England as the Malaysian punched above his weight to knock out defending champion Viktor Axelsen in the second round.
For Axelsen, who has been in each of the last four finals, winning two, it was his earliest loss at an HSBC BWF World Tour event since the Indonesia Masters in November 2021.
Alongside two-time champion Axelsen, five-time champion Yuta Watanabe was another big-name casualty, as he hurt his left calf in his mixed doubles match and had to be wheeled off.
While Ng was sensational, particularly in the third game, Axelsen himself appeared some way below his normal precise self, making several uncharacteristic unforced errors. Still, the world No.1 was able to shake off a 15-19 deficit in the third and earn two match points, but the Malaysian hung on to effect the biggest result of his career, 21-15 9-21 23-21.
Axelsen was distraught at having blown two match points.
“I put everything into this, so of course I’m disappointed,” said the Dane. “It’s one of the most special tournaments to me, and when you fail, it’s tough. He played well and I made too many mistakes. He deserved the win.
“It wasn’t to be today. I didn’t feel well, I made too many mistakes and the drift was way more than usual. I had two match points, should have used some experience to win one of those, but that’s how it is.”
The winner was struggling to process the magnitude of his achievement.
“This is the biggest win of my career,” said Ng. “I didn’t think too much before the match, I just wanted to go all out. I just tried to calm down when he had those two match points.”