Lin Dan hangs on to win Thailand Masters 1st-round

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Lin Dan advances to Thailand Masters second round. (photo: AFP)
Lin Dan advances to Thailand Masters second round. (photo: AFP)

Bangkok: Top-seeded badminton legend, Lin Dan of China and Malaysia’s Cheam June Wei battled to survive their first-round matches Wednesday at the Thailand Masters.

The two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China came back from dropping a set to hold off a spirited challenge from the 2017 and 2018 World Junior champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand, winning 21-14, 11-21, 21-12 at the Indoor Stadium Huamark.

Lin won comfortably in the first set with 21-14. However, the 35-year-old Lin looked tired and stamina-drained in the second set as the 17-year-old Vitidsarn took a 11-7 lead at the interval before claiming the second set 21-11. Lin was able to enjoy some extra “timeout” when the match was interrupted as the stadium experienced a power outage. After the power was restored, the well-rested Lin quickly storm to the finish line by winning the decider 21-12.

“I learned a lot from today’s match. Lin showed me his powerful attacks and I definitely need to improve my physical fitness,” said Vitidsarn.

The No. 1 seed Lin will take on Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong on Thursday.

In other men’s competition, Cheam June Wei had to dig deep to see off Ihsan Maulana Mustofa of Indonesia 21-18, 11-21, 21-15 to set up a second round meeting with Pannawit Thongnuam of Thailand.

Malaysia’s rising men’s player Lee Zii Jia also produced a brilliant first round display as he thwarted former World No. 2 Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia 21-17, 21-11 in just 31 minutes.

Lee will take on Vincent Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong next.

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