Kowloon: Two months, 3 losses. After losing to Japan’s World No. 1 Kento Momota in the quarter-final of Japan Open, first round of China Open, the two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China suffered his ninth first round exits this season on Wednesday when he lost to Momota again in the Hong Kong Open first round 19-21, 21-12, 15-21 in 74 minutes.
After the defeat, Lin said he has no plans to retire as he vowed to fight for a spot to represent China in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I have no major injury, I may play in more tournaments next year as the Olympic qualification period starts,” said Lin Dan.
“I had some good opportunities in the third set against Momota today, but I failed to take my chances.”
Regardless of what Lin Dan said, the current World No 13 Lin would have to maintain World’s top 16 in order to secure one of the two spot allocated to the Chinese team in the Olympic men’s singles event.
Kento Momota will play compatriot Kanta Tsuneyama on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Rio Olympic champion Chen Long who has slowly rediscovered his best form, overcame Daren Liew of Malaysia 21-16, 21-16 to set up second round battle with Sameer Verma of India.
In men’s doubles, Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong simply refused to be beaten by No. 3 seeds Zhang Nan/Liu Cheng of China twice in two weeks as they eked out a 11-21, 21-18, 21-15 victory in the opener. Goh/Tan will play Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia next.
Another Chinese men’s doubles pair, the No. 2 seeds Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen continued to struggle as they were sent packing in the first round, losing to Lee Jhe-Huei/Lee Yang of Chinese Taipei 12-21, 15-21 in just 27 minutes.