Axelsen credits strong Denmark club system for badminton success

New Delhi (AFP) –


Danish ace Viktor Axelsen Thursday credited his country's strong club system for his success after entering the quarter finals of the India Open badminton.

The 25-year-old Axelsen outplayed Suppanyu Avihingsanon of Thailand 21-11, 21-9 to underline his favourite's tag in the BWF World Tour Super 500 tournament.

Axelsen has made giant strides in the sport after single-handedly breaking Asia's stranglehold on men's badminton when he became world number one in 2017.

"We have had a long history of good players. We really have a strong club system in Denmark," Axelsen, currently ranked fourth, told reporters after his second-round win.

"We have a lot of good coaches and the young players like me got in pretty early and got to play with the best players," he said.

Denmark has had a rich history of badminton success since the sport arrived in the country in the 1920s.

The nation of fewer than six million people not only boasts Axelsen but has also produced some of the best doubles players in the sport.

Axelsen, who lost the All England final to current world number Kento Momota of Japan, remained the crowd favourite at Delhi's Indira Gandhi Stadium.

Although stands were largely empty, a group of fans chanted his name throughout the second-round encounter.

"I always love my name in the stands. It was great, so thanks for all the support that came today," said Axelsen on Thursday.

"Of course I would like them to cheer for me but I'd rather play a filled stadium where one is against me than an empty stadium but today was nice," he added.

But Axelsen's compatriot Jan O Jorgensen had a forgettable day after losing to India's HS Prannoy 19-21, 22-20, 17-21 in a one hour, seven minute battle.

Other top stars in India's Kidambi Srikanth, former men's number one, and women's singles player PV Sindhu also reached the last eight.

Srikanth served past Lu Guangzu of China 21-11, 21-16. Olympic silver medallist Sindhu beat Deng Joy Xuan of Hong Kong 21-11, 21-13.

Defending champion in the women's singles Beiwen Zhang of the US dispatched Brittney Tam of Canada 21-6, 21-16 in just 21 minutes.