Carrying a modest 2-16 head-to-head record against Viktor Axelsen going into the semifinals of the YONEX Swiss Open 2023, Chou Tien Chen served up a massive surprise on Saturday, sending the top seed crashing out in 32 minutes.
Chou’s last win over Axelsen was in December 2019, after which he’d failed to take a game off the world No.1 in seven matches.
Today the proceedings couldn’t have been more different. While Chou was sharp on all counts, Axelsen looked on edge, with his defence failing to keep its usual high standards, while his precision in attack was off. The No.1 was unable to shift gears, and Chou quickly racked up points to prevent the Dane from getting any momentum. Rather unusually, Chou didn’t celebrate in his characteristic extravagant style at the end of the match.
Earlier, the other men’s singles semifinal too had seen a surprise, with world No.37 Koki Watanabe taking just 27 minutes to stop No.4 Lee Zii Jia, 21-11 21-14.
The women’s singles final will be between Mia Blichfeldt and Pornpawee Chochuwong. Blichfeldt outplayed Beiwen Zhang in an hour-long match, while Chochuwong was taken 71 minutes by Gregoria Mariska Tunjung.