During a sensational tie on Court 1 at the All England Malaysia’s NG Tze Yong knocked out Viktor Axelsen over 3 hard-fought games 21-15, 9-21, 23-21.
NG was the underdog in this tie but his determination and intelligent play gave him victory.
After an even start it was clear that the Malaysian’s game plan was focused on upsetting Axelsen’s flow. His confidence at the net undermined the Dane’s movement about the court. There was a clear strategy to draw him, in then push him back. The court conditions were tricky and NG seemed to master them to his advantage and went in at the first interval 11-8 up.
There was more of the same in the second part of the game. Viktor was obviously unsettled and nervous – for instance he complained about NG toweling down – but the heart of the problem was that he was finding it hard to match the Malaysian’s speed across court and the relentless pressure that he was applying. First blood to Ng 21-15.
NG took his foot off the gas a little in the second set, eventually conceding it 9-21. At this point I doubted his resilience. I was wrong.
Set 3 began with Viktor trying to regain dominance but NG simply reflected the pressure back. His bleeding hand and subsequent call for the doctor disrupted the flow of the match a little but NTY kept his focus. Whilst every spectator was screaming he kept his focus. And then the inevitable happened. From his deep reserves of competitive determination Viktor clawed his way back into contention. From 15-19 down he recovered and served for the match at 20-19. Sensationally NG refused to concede: 20-20. Extra points. Again Viktor had match point at 21-20 but was stunned by the indomitable spirit of the Malaysian who levelled then accelerated away to win an extraordinary match 23-21.
NG Tze Yong is a rare talent who competes with courage and intelligence. He has blown the MS championship race wide open and announced his potential on the biggest badminton stage against the World #1. Congratulations and well-played!
My preview did not foresee this result! https://womensbadminton.co.uk/2023/03/12/yonex-all-england-2023-mens-preview/
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