Viktor Axelsen revealed how he motivated himself enroute to BWF World Superseries Finals title in Dubai on 18 December. It was also the first Superseries title for the Danish shuttler and it has come the hard way as the world number four had stumbled to go past the final barrier on six other occasions, which includes an attempt in 2014 Dubai title match as well.
The Dane's campaign in Dubai this year hit a roadblock when he lost his second group game against Son Wan Ho but he managed to beat Malaysian giant Lee Chong Wei in a crucial must-win encounter before avenging his defeat to the South Korean in the semi-final. On Sunday, Axelsen was tested in the final by China's Tian Houwei, who came back from behind to take the second game 21-6.
However, in the decider Axelsen held his nerves and clinched the match 21-14, 6-21, 21-17. The 22-year-old, who lost a bit of form after his bronze medal at the Rio Games, revealed how he battled the nerves in the final game and got past the final hurdle in his seventh attempt.
"Winning this title means the world to me. I have been in many finals now... it was a battle of nerves, especially in the third set, and I am happy I came out strongest in the end," Axelsen said, as quoted by BWF's official website.
"I was really nervous in that third set, but in the end, I just said, 'You know what, just stop this cr*p and just play with everything you got. Don't act like a cry baby and just play the shot over the net', and that was enough in the end."
Also, newly-crowned world number one Tai Tzu Ying asserted her dominance over the rest by easing to her second title in Dubai after her 2014 victory. The Taiwanese shuttler made light work of Sung Ji Hyun, who was looking worn out after her marathon battle in the semi-final against PV Sindhu.
TAI REGAINS DUBAI TITLE
Tai conceded that she did not expect to win the final on Sunday in straight games but maintained she loved the conditions in Dubai, which has proved to be a happy hunting ground.
"I am surprised at how smoothly it all went. I am thrilled to win my second title here and I thank all the fans who cheered for me. I loved the atmosphere in there," Tai said.