The Dane pulled off a tense victory to succeed Viktor Axelsen as men’s singles champion.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Open men’s singles crown remained in Danish hands today as Anders Antonsen won the title with an upset victory over China’s world number six Shi Yu Qi.
Yu Qi had sent defending champion Viktor Axelsen packing in the semi-finals.
Antonsen, ranked world No. 9, stunned Yu Qi 21-14, 21-13 in what he described as one of the biggest victories of his career.
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Antonsen’s best achievements before this was winning the 2020 World Tour Finals title, also a Super 1000 event, by beating Axelsen, apart from a silver and two bronze medals in the world championships.
His victory today bagged him a medal, trophy and US$91,000 (about RM422,877) in prize money, while Yu Qi received US$44,200 (about RM205,397) as well as a medal and trophy.
After the victory, Antonsen described it as the biggest moment of his life.
“It feels amazing, kind of like shocked. The first game today was really good. But the second game was full of nerves, not the best second game, I was in bad shape.
“I never expected that (to win in straight sets) against this type of opponent. Obviously, it was an uphill battle for him in the second game playing with the drift, so it was crucial that I got the first game,” he said.
Asked about his plans for celebrations, Antonsen said he might go for a big feast tonight or maybe hunt for some local delicacies.
Antonsen made it to the final after defeating Taiwan’s Lin Chun Yi 21-16, 21-7, while Yu Qi stunned Axelsen, the 2022 and 2023 champion 21-12, 19-21, 21-17 in an intense 70-minute battle.
Yu Qi, who played a long rubber set match against Axelsen late last night, said Antonsen was the better player today. “He was better prepared than me. He also had greater skills and tactics,” Yu Qi said.