ODENSE: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei checked into the quarter-finals of the Denmark Open but China’s Lin Dan of China stole the spotlight when he was knocked out in the second round.
On Thursday, top seed Chong Wei beat India’s Anand Pawar 21-14, 21-13 win to set up a meeting with China’s former world champion Chen Jin.
Lin Dan, however, played half-heartedly and without any urgency en route to losing 10-21, 21-17, 19-21 to Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki in 52 minutes.
A delighted Wing Ki will feature in his first Premier Super Series quarter-final when he takes on Japanese ace Sho Sasaki.
Lin Dan just brushed off his shocking defeat.
“It’s just another tournament for me. All the top 10 players had to turn up for the Premier Super Series and I did. It’s just unfortunate that I lost today.
“There have been too many tournaments and perhaps they took its toll on me. It has been too much...” he lamented before rushing off from the press conference room.
Lin Dan won the US$1.2mil Super Series Masters Finals in South Korea and the world title this year. But it was his shenanigans – conceding walkovers in the Malaysia Open, Singapore Open and Japan Open due to “different injuries” that raised eyebrows.
Chong Wei, however, did not want to read too much into Lin Dan’s latest defeat although badminton fans were all hoping for a showdown between the duo.
The Malaysian is determined to stay focused on getting the better of hard-hitting Chen Jin next.
“I was surprised when Lin Dan lost. But it’s just one China player who is down, there are still others around. We have to stay focused,” said Chong Wei.
Besides Chen Jin, an in-form Chen Long also made it to the last eight after an 18-21, 21-16, 21-8 win over Indonesian Simon Santoso.
Du Pengyu almost made it a grand day for China but fell short against Jan O Jorgensen, going down 21-11, 21-23, 10-21.
Chen Long, winner of the China Masters and Japan Open, will take on Jorgensen next.
All eyes will also be on the match between the old and new of Danish badminton when veteran Peter-Gade Christensen faces off with rising star Viktor Axelsen in the quarter-finals.
This will be the first time that the 17-year-old Axelsen, who emerged as the country’s first world junior champion last year, will be taking on his idol in an international tournament.
Meanwhile, Malaysia will be banking on Tan Wee Kiong-Hoon Thien How to keep the country’s interest in the men’s doubles alive when they face four-time champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China.