A towering problem: Hong Kong badminton star Angus Ng to face world champion Viktor Axelsen in last 16 in Nanjing
The 24-year-old easily overcomes his third-round opponent but sets up a tough last 16 assignment against the great Dane in men’s singles at the world championships
Hong Kong shuttler Angus Ng Ka-long won his third-round match in men’s singles at the world badminton championships in Nanjing but has a towering problem ahead of him after earning a last-16 encounter with defending champion Viktor Axelsen, of Denmark.
Ng defeated unheralded Raul Must, of Estonia, with a dominating performance before registering a 21-18, 21-18 victory but was pitted against world No 1 Axelsen in the top half of the draw.
“I have met Viktor a few times on the court and he’s always got the better of me, but I’m playing well and let’s see how it goes,” said the 24-year-old Ng, the world No 10.
Axelsen, last year’s surprise men’s world champion, is determined to retain his crown and would be confident of going further into the draw against Ng, whom he beat last time out at the China Open semi-finals last December.
Ng and Axelsen, who stands 1.94m tall, are good friends off court and converse in Mandarin with Ng credited to helping the Dane brush up on his Mandarin-speaking skills.
Axelsen defeated China’s Huang Yuxiang 21-17, 21-8 to book his place in the round of 16.
— BWF (@bwfmedia) August 1, 2018
The match was tied 16-16 in the first game before play was suspended for roughly 10 minutes as organisers dealt with water that was dripping on the court.
When play resumed on a different court, Axelsen won five of the next six points to clinch the game. He maintained this momentum into the second game, as he cruised to an easy victory.
“When when we changed courts, I knew that both the light and wind was different, so I tried to focus on that and came really aggressive. Luckily that paid off in the end,” said Axelsen.
Two-time world champion Chen Long beat Thailand’s Phetpradab Khosit in a match that lasted 50 minutes. Chen started slowly as Khosit repeatedly attacked the front of the net, but Chen eventually pulled away for the win.
“When today’s match started, I still needed to adapt myself and mentally prepare myself for the match,” said Chen.
Chen will next face 14th-seeded Kenta Nishimoto, who also won on the day.
Fifth-seeded Kidambi Srikanth beat Pablo Abian of Spain, while No 6 seed Kento Momota continued to shine in his 21-8, 21-10 victory over Austria’s Luka Wraber. Momota will play Anders Antonsen of Denmark in the round of 16.
In women’s singles, China’s top-ranked shuttler Chen Yufei edged Gregoria Tunjung of Indonesia 21-17, 22-20 in a closely contested match.
“The opponent and I seemed to be equally competent. We reached a stalemate during the first half of the match, then we both played harder in the second half,” Chen said.
Chen will next face Goh Jin Wei, of Malaysia, who upset No 14 seed Aya Ohori of Japan.
Defending world champion Nozomi Okuhara, of Japan, defeated Canada’s Rachel Honderich 21-11, 21-9 to advance.
Additional reporting by Associated Press