On the back of his latest All-England triumph on Sunday, world number one Viktor Axelsen will have a collective target placed on him by the rest of the chasing pack each time the Dane faces any of them.
Fans expecting to see a tightly contested men’s singles final between him and fast rising Lakshya Sen, would have been disappointed after the Olympic champion coolly disposed of the Indian 21-10, 21-15 in less than an hour.
Anyone who presumed that Axelsen may have had a tough run-up to the final were also going to be disappointed as he crushed all his victims, including top ten stars Anthony Ginting and Chou Tien-chen, in straight games.
This was Axelsen’s second All-England triumph, the first coming in 2020 where he destroyed Chou in similarly dominant fashion before surrendering to Lee Zii Jia in last year’s final.
“It feels exactly the same as the first time. I’m so relieved in a way, because it’s so hard to get to these finals, so you also have to grab the chances when you have them, and I’ve managed to grab two and I am stoked about that,” he was quoted saying.
Where Lakshya could withstand Lee’s attacks with resilience before digging deep in the final stages of their semi-finals encounter, Axelsen never gave him an opportunity by repeatedly keeping the Indian constantly on the back foot and on the deep end of his court.
Axelsen’s thunderous smashes, be it overhead or cross-court, were just too much for the youngster whose goal was to only valiantly recover as many points as possible in a one-sided affair.
“I wanted to come in aggressive with a high pace. I know Lakshya had a tough match in the semis, so I knew he was a little tired. I played with great variation and determination and it paid off,” he added.
Axelsen next contests the Swiss Open starting on Tuesday as the top seed, with a clash against national team-mate Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.
Lakshya is also in action and has his own team-mate Sameer Verma for company.
With Lee heading back to Malaysia after All England, Ng Tze Yong carries Malaysia’s hopes in the men’s singles from the qualifying round.
He faces Canada’s B.R. Sankeerth in the first qualifiers, and will play another match should he win to get into the main draw.