Taiwan’s Chou runner up at All England Open Badminton Championships

Chou Tien-chen (周天成) / CNA file photo

TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan badminton ace Chou Tien-chen (周天成) was defeated by Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the final of the men’s singles at the Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships 2020 on Sunday

The first-seeded world No. 2 Chou fell to second seed world No. 7 Axelsen 21-13, 21-14 in the final, which lasted 46 minutes.

Chou started off too passively, which allowed Axelson, last year’s runner up, to gain quick and fast points early on. The Dane capitalized on aggressive attacks by getting close to the net, gaining control and then releasing a series of straight body smashes.

The frustration built up towards the end of the second game as the match turned into one way traffic with Chou unable to find answers to Axelson’s superb form.

The urgency for the Taiwanese shuttler was summed up by a game that appeared limited to a one shot attack with a not-so-strong follow up, whereas the Danish former world champion swooped in for the kill across the court throughout the match.

“You know getting a good start is pretty important, especially in the final,” Axelson said after the match. “Wind can also play a big part of the game, so I was controlling that a bit and had good legs.”

The 26-year-old Axelson, 2017 world champion and bronze medalist at the 2016 Summer Olympics now holds a 10-2 head-to-head record against the 30-year-old Chou, who scored one of the biggest victories of his career when he won the Blibli Indonesia Open, a top-tier BWF Super 1000 event in July last year.

Despite the loss, Chou was the first Taiwanese male to reach the final in the history of the tournament, while Axelson ended a 21-year wait since the last Dane won the men’s title. The last Danish player to win the All England Open men’s singles title was Peter Gade in 1999.

YONEX All England Open 2020 | Finals MS Highlights

Highlights | Tears of joy for Viktor Axelsen as he defeats Chou Tien Chen for the oldest and most prestigious title on the badminton calendar 🏸#HSBCBWFbadminton #HSBCRaceToGuangzhou #AllEnglandOpen2020 #YAE20 #WorldTour

BWF — Badminton World Federation 发布于 2020年3月15日周日

Considered one of the oldest and most prestigious badminton tournaments, the Yonex All England Open 2020, a top-tier BWF Super 1000 event, carried a total purse of US$1.1 million (NT$33.14 million) and was held March 11-15 at Arena Birmingham in England.