Sydney: The two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan of China got off to a strong start on Wednesday when he saw off HS Prannoy of India 21-18, 21-19 to advance to the second round of Australian Open.
Lin Dan quickly opened up a 9-5 gap in the first game, but Prannoy was also able to score five consecutive point to lead 11-10 at the interval. After 11-11, Lin was being more proactively and made less mistakes by winning the first game 21-18.
Both Lin and Prannoy stayed nearly neck-and-neck at 15-15, 18-18, and 19-19 in the second game. Nevertheless, Lee was able to keep his cool and stuck to his aggressive game plan to score three consecutive points and claimed the second game 21-19.
Prior to Wednesday’s match, Lin held a 1-2 career meeting record against Prannoy. As the sole men’s singles player left in the tournament, Lin will face another Indian player Parupalli Kashyap in the second round.
Malaysia’s men’s singles players such as Cheam June Wei, Chong Wei Feng, Lee Zii Jia were all eliminated from the tournament with the exception of Soong Joo Ven and Daren Liew. Soong will play Sitthikom Thammasin of Thailand in the second round while a tough task awaits Daren Liew as he will be playing No. 1 seed Chou Tien Chen of Taiwan on Thursday.
Having last played together at the 2017 Korea Masters Grand Prix Gold, the reunion of former World No. 1 Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong was cut short when they lost to Wahyu Nayaka Arya Pangkaryanira/Ade Yusuf Santoso of Indonesia 18-21, 21-12, 16-21. The match showed Lee/Yoo still have the skills to return to the top of men’s doubles rankings, but they would need to work on their stamina as they dug themselves a big hole by falling behind 2-10 in the decider due to lack of fitness.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong, Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik, and Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi were all stranded in the first round of Australian Open.