Malaysia Masters: ‘Super Happy’ Axelsen Off and Running

Viktor Axelsen did not let a boisterous Axiata Arena and its local hero Lee Zii Jia put him off clinching his first title of the season at PERODUA Malaysia Masters 2024 on Sunday.

The venue transformed to its loudest the moment Lee walked out and was bouncing throughout but Axelsen, now “playing pain-free” after months of bothersome niggles and singleminded in his pursuit of glory, shut out of the noise he himself admitted envying.

“The atmosphere was crazy, an amazing experience playing Lee at the Axiata,” said the world No.1. “You can’t even hear yourself think. I could for sure not hear my coach say anything. I was under a lot of pressure from the start.

“I’m super happy about my first title. I’ve been through quite a few challenges since the start of the year. To break through again was awesome.”

On opening his account two months out from Paris 2024, the defending Olympic gold medallist said: “That’s the most important thing. I played a great tournament here. Overall, 90 per cent of the time I played some great badminton so I’m super happy about it.”

Lee, fresh off his Thailand Open success last week, dragged himself into a second successive final pushed on by the crowd despite struggling with cramps all week. Eager not to disappoint the fans, he pressed again only to fall short to a fitter opponent, 6-21 22-20 13-21.

“Lee played a great second game and showed me up a bit but at times I was a bit too predictable,” said Axelsen. “It’s also fine, there was a lot of adrenaline. I didn’t exactly have the crowd with me, so to win is obviously nice.”

For Lee, finals in consecutive weeks leave him with plenty to build on.

“Loads of positives in these two weeks and I learned so much. It was a good run,” said the world No.10. “My legs weren’t comfortable but I kept going and going because of the fans. I gave my best, now it’s time to rest and evaluate my condition.”

Results (Finals)


“I’ve learnt a lot about myself including to never give up. I was 11-3 down in the third game but I came back fighting. I want to relax now, go for a swim, have some hot food and eat durian. I absolutely love it.” – Women’s singles winner Wang Zhi Yi on her week in Kuala Lumpur

“We were trying our best to outdo each other. The rallies were continuing like they were never going to end. And I had a bit of fatigue coming in to the second game. So I told my partner ‘you’ve got to find something’. The crowd really helped and gave me the adrenaline to overcome this, and push through to the championship point.” – Shevon Jemie Lai

“Words can’t describe the feeling of winning in an arena like this. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. My son is 10 months old, pretty much during my semifinal he was sleeping. He’s probably sleeping again. He doesn’t care (yet), he’s just like ‘I’m excited to see you’.” – Kim Astrup on having his young son over in Malaysia

Wang celebrates defeating Pusarla V. Sindhu 16-21 21-5 21-16.

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