Axelsen survives Christie scare in Singapore Open classic

Viktor Axelsen defeated Jonatan Christie in the Singapore Open men’s single quarter-final. (AFP pic)

SINGAPORE: Viktor Axelsen saved two match points before winning 22-24 21-18 24-22 against Jonatan Christie in a classic Singapore Open men’s singles quarter-final Friday, the Dane staying consistent at key moments to edge out his opponent.

The pair started the match with a 45-shot rally to set the tone for a roller-coaster opener that Christie captured after both men had wasted game points.

The great Dane then dug deep to level the contest with a smash on his third game point.

The athletic Christie appeared to take control of the decider but Axelsen refused to buckle and twice staved off elimination.

He sent a smash past the world number eight on a third match point of his own to set up a last four encounter against Japanese top seed Kento Momota.

While Christie came up short, his fellow Indonesian  Anthony Sinisuka Ginting caused a major upset earlier in the day when he manufactured a brilliant 21-8 21-19 victory over China’s Rio Olympic and two-time world champion Chen Long.

Ginting got off to a fast start and never looked back, punishing a lethargic Chen with a string of brutal smashes to his forehand side as the world number nine raced through the opening game and survived a late fightback to secure victory.

Momota struggled before seeing off India’s Srikanth Kidambi 21-18 19-21 21-9, while defending champion Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan eked out a 21-10 15-21 21-15 victory over Sameer Verma, also of India, to set up a meeting with Ginting.

In women’s singles play, Nozomi Okuhara and Akane Yamaguchi ensured it was a perfect day for Japan as both progressed with routine victories over former world number ones.

Okuhara led a procession of the top four seeds into the semi-finals by crushing India’s Saina Nehwal 21-8 21-13, while Yamaguchi used her resilient defence to overwhelm Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon 21-13 21-17 to set up a showdown with Taiwanese top seed Tai Tzu-ying.

Tai recovered from a mid-match wobble to edge South Korea’s Sung Ji-hyun 21-11 17-21 21-16 as Indian fourth seed PV Sindhu outlasted China’s Cai Yanyan 21-13 17-21 21-14 to book her match with Okuhara.