Top-ranked Axelsen sets up mouthwatering badminton final

Viktor Axelsen of Denmark is just one win away from his maiden China Open triumph. (AFP)
Updated 18 November 2017
0

Top-ranked Axelsen sets up mouthwatering badminton final

SHANGHAI: World number one Viktor Axelsen of Denmark will play the reigning Olympic champion and home hope Chen Long in Sunday’s mouthwatering final of the China Open.
In the women’s draw in Fuzhou, the Japanese fifth seed Akane Yamaguchi takes on the Chinese qualifier Gao Fangjie, who had previously never made it past the first round of a Superseries event.
The 23-year-old Axelsen, the current world champion and top seed, needed just 39 minutes to defeat unseeded Angus Ng Ka-long of Hong Kong 21-12, 21-17 in their one-sided semifinal on Saturday.
The imperious Axelsen is just one win away from his maiden China Open triumph.
But first he must see off the sixth seed Chen, who booked his ticket for the final with a topsy-turvy 21-17, 10-21, 21-7 victory over South Korea’s second seed Son Wan-Ho in 71 minutes.
Chen, 28, holds a strong advantage in his meetings with Axelsen, beating the Dane seven times and losing to him just once.
The home crowd will also have another Chinese to roar in Sunday’s women’s final in the form of 19-year-old surprise-package Gao.
The teenager stunned current Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain 21-19, 21-19 in one hour.
Gao’s opponent in the decider will be the Japanese Yamaguchi, who defeated Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon, seeded eight, 21-14, 21-18.


Manchester City boss Guardiola gives Tommy Fleetwood a Pep talk ahead of Ryder Cup

Updated 25 September 2018
0

Manchester City boss Guardiola gives Tommy Fleetwood a Pep talk ahead of Ryder Cup

  • World No.11 receives special message from Spaniard ahead of Europe's clash against the US
  • Fleetwood to make his Ryder Cup debut in Paris this week.

PARIS: Ryder Cup rookie Tommy Fleetwood will hope a message of motivation from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola can spur him on to success for Europe in Paris this week.
Fleetwood, introduced to Guardiola through a mutual friend, was on a Cheshire golf course with the City boss in April when his side were crowned Premier League champions following Manchester United’s defeat by West Brom.
The pair then struck up a partnership at Wentworth for the celebrity Pro-Am event ahead of the BMW PGA Championship in May, and Guardiola has shown his support for Fleetwood ahead of this week’s showdown with the US.
“We all have these videos in the room, these motivational videos, and he was one of the guys that sent a message to me,” Fleetwood said.
“I’m not sure he’s coming over. I’m sure he’s busy at the weekend but he might make it over. But yeah, we always talk quite a lot.
“He’s somebody that’s great to know.”
Guardiola gushed about his first-hand Ryder Cup experience as a fan at the 2012 edition in Medinah, when Europe pulled off a remarkable final-day comeback to stun the Americans on their home patch.
The Spaniard, then on a 12-month sabbatical after leaving his post at Barcelona, was invited to the tournament as a guest of European captain Jose Maria Olazabal.
“He was at the Ryder Cup in Medinah, and he’ll always mention that that’s one of the greatest times he’s had in his life being at that Ryder Cup,” said Fleetwood.
“Yeah, it was a very special time. It has a special place in his heart, the Ryder Cup, and he’s been very supportive through the whole thing.
“Maybe we’ll see him, I don’t know.”
City are due to host Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday, not ruling out the possibility of Guardiola making an appearance for Sunday’s singles.