Viktor Axelsen was made to work by Shi Yu Qi for his second-round victory at badminton‘s India Open on Thursday (19 January).
The men’s world No. 1 actually dropped a game before prevailing 21-16, 16-21, 21-9 against the Chinese shuttler in New Delhi.
Axelsen, now 7-1 over his career versus Shi, was in control throughout the opening game and the second looked to be more of the same, the Dane taking a 10-6 lead.
But Shi dug deep to make it 11-all and from there took 10 of the next 15 points to force a third and final set.
Axelsen, nevertheless, made sure Shi would not have the last laugh. Shi got as close as 6-5 but the tour’s reigning Player of the Year pulled away, prying open a 14-6 gap before winning the last six points of the 63-minute contest.
Fourth seed Jonatan Christie outlasted Zhao Jun Peng in a 62-minute marathon 21-19, 15-21, 21-12.
In the women’s singles, world number one Yamaguchi Akane progressed with a 21-14, 21-17 victory over Han Yue, the two-time defending world champion falling behind not once throughout the 33-minute contest. Carolina Marin was the same against Ratchanok Intanon, never trailing her Thai opponent to win 21-16, 21-16.
World number one pair Zheng Si Wei/Huang Ya Qiong dismissed the Indonesians Rehan Naufal Kusharjanto/Lisa Ayu Kusumawati 21-16, 21-9 in the mixed doubles while in the men’s doubles, Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto battled to defeat Muhammad Shohibul Fikri/Bagas Maulana 21-17, 21-18.
Last week’s Malaysia Open was only the second time in history – the first since the 2018 Denmark Open – that the world No. 1 in all five disciplines topped the podium.