Can Tze Yong blunt Viktor’s Axe once more?Stephanie Chan
PETALING JAYA: Singles shuttler Ng Tze Yong made headlines when he pulled off a major upset against world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the second round of the All-England in May.
The spotlight is again on Tze Yong as he prepares to face the Dane in the second round of the Japan Masters today but can he replicate his sensational feat?
In the opening round, Tze Yong played brilliantly to outplay world No. 27 Wang Tzu-wei of Taiwan 21-12, 21-11 at the Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium yesterday.
The victory was sweet revenge for the world No. 15 after suffering a narrow 12-21, 21-13, 19-21 defeat to Tzu-wei in the Thailand Open last month.
Axelsen, who has just returned to competitive action after recovering from a left foot injury, did not lose his competitive edge as he breezed past Indonesia’s world No. 22 Chico Aura, 21-11, 21-7.
A repeat upset over Axelsen would not only bolster Tze Yong’s confidence but also strengthen his reputation as a formidable force.
Tze Yong will be the sole representative in the men’s singles after independent Lee Zii Jia went down fighting 18-21, 20-22 to Denmark’s world No. 10 Anders Antonsen in the first round.
Following this loss, Zii Jia finds himself at a disadvantage in their head-to-head record, having triumphed only twice out of their five meetings.
The defeat was also a bitter blow for the world No. 11 Zii Jia, who is slowly regaining his mojo after reaching back-to-back finals in the Arctic Open and Denmark Open last month.