Lin Dan, Daren Liew advance to Hong Kong Open second round

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Can Lin Dan redeem himself at Hong Kong Open? (photo: Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)
Can Lin Dan redeem himself at Hong Kong Open? (photo: Yu Chun Christopher Wong/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

Hong Kong: Two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan avoided his 9th first round exit this season in 2019 Hong Kong Open on Wednesday as he came back from dropping the first set to beat Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus of Denmark 22-24, 21-17, 21-16 in 71 minutes.

With the support from his wife, Xie Xingfang, Lin managed to regroup and fought off the challenge from Vittinghus to advance to the second round.

“I lost my focus in the first set after leading by 19-15 but ended up losing 22-24. It’s was really demoralizing. Fortunately, I was able to make some mental adjustment, I told myself the match was not over yet, I need to find a way to win the match,” said Lin.

However, Lin continued to struggle in the second set, falling behind 1-5, 4-8.

“I was affected by the first game loss. But, slowly, I was trying to chase back one point at a time,” added Lin.

Lin then completely destroyed Vittinghus’ confident by scoring seven consecutive points to rally from 7-10 to take the lead at 14-10 and won the second and third game.

Lin will face Anders Antonsen of Denmark next.

Malaysia’s Daren Liew also produced a brilliant display to down last week’s Fuzhou China Open semi-finalist Rasmus Gemke 21-18, 18-21, 21-15. The 32-year-old Malaysian will play No. 7 seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the second round.

Meanwhile, Viktor Axelsen who suffered herniated disc problem and pollen allergy in the last few months, relying on his heavy smashes to beat defending champion Son Wan Ho 21-9, 21-14.

“I was frustrated during the injury. The injury actually gave me time to restart and to pay more attention to details during training. I hope I could return to the level prior to the injury soon,” said Axelsen.

The men’s singles No. 1 seed Kento Momota had withdrawn from the tournament on Wednesday.

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