China Open: Hosts in Three-Title Shot

Unheralded Lu Guang Zu will feature in the biggest final of his career when he takes the court at the VICTOR China Open 2023 against Viktor Axelsen.

The world No.15, who fell in the first round of seven events this year and whose best result on the World Tour has been the Super 300 win in Australia five years ago, outdid expectations in making the final beating compatriot Shi Yu Qi rather comfortably, 21-13 21-14.

He will be up against the formidable Axelsen, who’s looking for his first China Open title. The Dane dismissed Jonatan Christie 21-17 21-14 and added that he was looking for redemption after the disappointment of falling in the quarterfinals of his home World Championships.

“I prepared really well for the World Championships, and the result wasn’t as I’d hoped. Of course I always try to do my best, no matter if it’s World Tour Super 300, 500, 750 or 1000. Obviously it means even more this time as it’s a Super 1000 in China for the first time after the pandemic. So I’m really happy to be in the final.

“I just had to attack as the side I started in, it was almost impossible to lift. So there was absolutely no choice other than to get the weapons ready and go for the attack.”

China have a shot at three titles on Sunday with local hopes riding on Lu Guang Zu, Chen Qing Chen/Jia Yi Fan (women’s doubles) and Liang Wei Keng/Wang Chang (men’s doubles).

Wang/Liang came through the tensest match of the day against Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi. The Japanese stole the second game from the brink of defeat, recovering from 9-15 and three match points down to force a decider.

They edged ahead at the end, holding match point at 20-19, but it was Wang and Liang’s day as they came through 21-16 20-22 22-20.

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