Badminton: Chou pulls off a 'wow moment' to reach first semis

Badminton: Chou pulls off a ‘wow moment’ to reach first semis

TAIWAN’s men’s singles ace Chou Tien-chen pulled off a miraculous comeback against Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie to reach his first semi-finals at the World Championships in Tokyo yesterday.

The 32-year-old Tien-chen was staring at defeat in the quarter-finals when he was down 15-20 in the third game but he refused to throw in the towel and sensationally grabbed seven points on the trot to walk away with a 14-21, 21-11, 22-20 win in 71 minutes.

World No. 4 Tien-chen was relieved to finally make the last four at his eighth attempt.

“I have lost in the quarter-finals three times before this (in 2014, 2018 and 2019) and when I was behind in the deciding game, I just prayed to God that I wouldn’t lose again. I didn’t have any plan on how to save the match points but just tried to be more focused,” said Tien-chen who will be the oldest singles player left in the competition.

He has a formidable task next as he goes up against top seed and reigning Olympic Games champion Viktor Axelsen of Denmark.

Tien-chen has only beaten Axelsen twice in their past 17 meetings.

Axelsen continued his imperious form when he brushed aside the challenge of another Indonesian, world No. 6 Anthony Ginting with a 21-10, 21-10 win.

“I’m really happy with my performance today. I feel I have been getting better and better as the tournament progressed. I still have a lot more left in the tank. It will be a new match tomorrow (today) and I will be fully focused,” said Axelsen.

Meanwhile, the other semi-final match will be between Thailand’s rising star Kunlavut Vitidsarn and China’s Zhao Junpeng.

Just like Tien-chen, both will be making their first appearance in the world meet semi-finals.

World No. 17 Vitidsarn stunned defending champion and world No. 8 Loh Kean Yew of Singapore 21-12, 17-21, 21-8 while Junpeng, who had toppled national ace Lee Zii Jia in the third round, continued his fine run when he beat India’s HS Prannoy 19-21, 21-6, 21-18.

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