WORLD NO 1 Lee Chong Wei (pic) began strongly but rival Lin Dan of China stuttered in the first round of the Swiss Open on Wednesday.
National singles chief coach Rashid Sidek, however, cautioned that not too much be read into the below par performance of Lin Dan.
Chong Wei defeated Kenichi Tago of Japan 21-18, 21-12 in 35 minutes but Lin Dan, the All England champion, had to battle for an hour before beating Arvind Bhat of India 19-21, 21-17, 21-16 in his opening match.
However, Rashid, in a telephone interview from Basel, said Lin Dan looked disinterested but still controlled the entire game and it won’t be wise to discount him.
“Lin Dan normally toys around with his opponents in the early rounds. His struggle may also be because he may not be taking the Swiss Open as seriously as he did the All England. He was in control and the scoreline doesn’t tell the true picture,” said Rashid.
“He was totally different in the All England as he won all his matches in straight games and if he puts his mind to it, Lin Dan is very difficult to beat.
“On the other hand, Chong Wei has maintained his form and he has a very good opportunity to reach the final.
“Winning will be 50-50 but much will depend on what Lin Dan and the Chinese camp have in mind.”
Chong Wei played Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand in a late second round match while Lin Dan squared off against compatriot Lu Yi.
Veteran Wong Choong Hann, who upset Indonesian No 3 Simon Santoso in his opening match, ended his campaign rather disappointingly after a 16-21, 21-12, 21-16 defeat to Andrew Smith of England in a 48-minute second round last night.
Malaysia are assured of a last eight berth as Lee Tsuen Seng met compatriot Sairul Amar Ayob in the second round late yesterday after clearing the first round in contrasting styles.