TOKYO — World number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia brushed aside Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana in the Japan Open on Wednesday, showing no ill-effects from a knee injury.
The top seed, who said an old injury to his left knee has recently flared, needed just 34 minutes to score a 21-9, 21-15 win over the in-form China Masters finalist in the first round of the men’s singles.
"For sure, he (Boonsak) is a tough opponent. I just tried to keep myself calm and play my game. I tried not to lose a single point because every point is very important," said Lee, the winner here in 2007.
Lee said he was going to focus on winning the Japan Open and then compete in just one more tournament this year, skipping the Hong Kong Open and the China Open to take a rest.
Other top players including Athens Olympic gold medallist Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, his compatriot and defending champion Soni Dwi Kuncoro, Peter Gade of Denmark, and 2008 Asian champion Park Sung-Hwan of South Korea also won.
Fourth seed Hidayat beat Chan Yan-kit of Hong Kong, fifth seed Kuncoro defeated Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand, and third seed Gade outgunned Rajiv Ouseph of England, all in straight games.
"It was nice to get going. I had to work hard in the second," said Gade, the winner here in 1998 and 1999.
"But I got control of the game in the end, so I’m pretty satisfied with the way I’m playing," he added.
Park needed 52 minutes to beat Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia 16-21, 21-13, 21-12, while 2009 Asian champion Bao Chunlai of China downed Hong Ji-Hoon of South Korea 23-21, 21-16.