Fourth seed Viktor Axelsen defeated defending champion Lin Dan to claim the bronze medal in the badminton men’s singles event at the Rio Games, after beating the Chinese star 15-21, 21-10, 21-17 at the Riocentro on Saturday.
Dan made the better start and quickly opened up a 3-1 lead, but by the time the players spent five minutes on the court, the score was level at 4-4.
For the next 10 minutes, the lead changed on a number of occasions with neither player moving more than two points in front.
With the score on 15-15, though, the two-time defending champion made his move. He won the next six points in a flurry of winners to claim the opening game.
The second game followed a distinctly different pattern, as former world junior champion Axelsen claimed the lead right from the start.
Initially Dan kept in touch with the Dane, but nine minutes into the game Axelsen had already opened up a 11-5 advantage.
From there, the world number four accelerated away from his renowned opponent to force a decider, after winning game two in just 19 minutes.
The momentum was completely with Axelsen at this stage, and the 22-year-old quickly raced to a 4-0 lead, which became 8-3 shortly thereafter.
Not to be outdone, Dan soon closed the deficit to 9-8, but Axelsen continued to keep his nose in front for the time being.
The winner in Beijing and London wasn’t to be outdone by a player 10 years his junior on the biggest stage of all, and the Chinese star reclaimed the lead at 14-13, before Axelsen once again levelled at 15-15.
It was at that point in the first game where the Dane lost his way, but by this point, after spending more than an hour on the court already, there was very little between the world numbers three and four.
It was Axelsen who made more of the running here, claiming the lead at 16-15, 17-16 and 18-17.
Axelsen continued to apply the pressure and eventually Dan’s defence gave way, as the Dane registered three match points, before converting the first one.