Top-ranked badminton players Xie Xingfang and Lin Dan of China both survived scares from unseeded opponents to win their opening-round matches Wednesday at the Thailand Open Grand Prix Gold.
Women's world No. 1 Xie needed three games to dispatch Julia Pei Xian Wong of Malaysia 21-17, 19-21, 21-19 in a surprisingly tight match that went down to the wire.
The deciding game was a back-and-forth affair, with the two trading the lead several times. Wong found herself on the verge of an upset at 19-19 before Xie took the final two points for the match.
Xingfang Xie, shown here at a tournament in Switzerland in March, needed a strong finish to dispatch her first-round opponent at the Thai Open. (Georgios Kefalas/Keystone/Associated Press)