TOKYO — Women’s world number one Zhou Mi of Hong Kong failed to clear the first hurdle when she crashed to Adriyanti Firdasari in the Japan Open badminton tournament on Wednesday.
The Masters Final champion, who played for China previously, suffered a shock 21-17, 18-21, 21-18 defeat in the first round to the Indonesian, ranked 20th in the world.
"It was difficult in the first game to get used to the wind (caused by the air conditioner) and its direction. I managed to take the second game, but physically I’m tired in the third game," said Zhou.
"I’m not physically in good form recently. I’ve been playing recently to find out in what aspect I must improve."
The 2002 Asian Games gold medallist added that she was under heavy pressure when she was playing for China, because she must "always win."
"I feel pressure-free playing for Hong Kong, but I started to feel pressure again, because of the people’s expectation," she added.
For Firdasari, it was her first win over Zhou in three meetings.
"I’m very, very happy. I’ve never expected to beat her, so I just tried to keep playing," said the 2005 SEA Games gold medallist.
"When I led the first game, I thought of winning the match, and I lost the second game. But I kept my motivation high in the third game. I lost to her twice before, so I really wanted to beat her this time," she added.
In the second round on Thursday, Firdasari will play Nicole Grether of Germany, the winner over Japan’s Megumi Taruno 21-19, 21-12.