French Open: Axelsen Searches for Answers After Early Loss

Viktor Axelsen struggled to explain what exactly had gone wrong after an uneven performance saw him crash out of the YONEX French Open 2024.

His conqueror was Wang Tzu Wei, who had lost to him in all six of their previous encounters.

It was apparent that something was off with Axelsen’s game from the early spell of play, with the Dane falling behind 10-1. The sharpness and accuracy were missing, and there were several errors. Yet, it was to Wang’s credit that he never let his foot off the pedal, and even after Axelsen had levelled out a big deficit in the second game, Wang created and converted his opportunities.

Wang in ecstasy after winning.

“He’s world no.1, he’s really strong and I’ve never beaten him before,” said Wang. “So I was relaxed and tried to do my best on court, and I’m glad I did well today. He made some mistakes and I seized my chance. I didn’t let him feel comfortable at all.

“I’ve never beaten him before, so I thought maybe today also it would be the same result.”

Axelsen was annoyed with himself, and appeared unsure of what exactly had contributed to his below-par performance.

“I don’t have many thoughts, it was really low level,” said the world No.1. “All credit to Tzu Wei for playing great, and he deserved the win. I have nothing much to say other than I’m surprised by my own level. It was not what I hoped, especially as I was happy to be back after a long time due to injuries.

“A lot of mistakes, and my opponent played way better than I did. Surprisingly low level on all fronts, which is super disappointing. I trained a lot, my preparation has been good. That’s what irritates me, because my preparation has been good.

“For some reason I felt uncomfortable and couldn’t find my rhythm at all. My level should be higher, my training has been super. It’s a long time since I trained so much, for some reason it didn’t come together for me today and that’s disappointing, but that’s life I guess.”

Wang capitalised on Axelsen’s mistakes.

Other Highlights

Among the big results of the day was men’s doubles second seeds Liang Wei Keng/Wang Chang falling to Chinese Taipei’s Lee Jhe-Huei/Yang Po-Hsuan 21-17 21-23 21-15.

Magnus Johannesen, who had taken down Lee Zii Jia in the first round, couldn’t make much headway against second seed Shi Yu Qi, who eased past him 21-10 21-14.

Kunlavut Vitidsarn had his hands full in staving off the challenge of Lin Chun-Yi, but the world champion managed to take his quarterfinal place with a late surge that saw him take eight of the last nine points.


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