LIUZHOU: China’s badminton star Lin Dan started his quest to bag his first-ever Superseries final title on Wednesday by dispatching compatriot Chen Long, while women’s number one Wang Yihan lost to South Korea’s Sung Ji Hyun.
"Super" Dan, badminton’s most decorated player, beat Chen 21-15, 19-21, 21-17 in a closely fought battle, with both shuttlers jittery at the last major event of the year.
"This was the first match of the tournament – neither of us were prepared to have to face a teammate," Lin said of the Tuesday draw that pitted China’s top two singles players against each other.
"I made some mistakes in my attack and I felt my footwork was not right, so I was nervous. The first match is always hardest."
Lin is seeking to win the "Super Grand Slam" by adding the Superseries title to his Olympics, world championships, World Cup, All-England, Thomas Cup, Sudirman Cup, Asia Championships and Asian Games wins.
"Of course, I would like to win it all. This is the first time I’ve played in the Superseries final — all the top men’s singles players are here," Lin said.
"I hope to play well and get better and better."
In the upset of the night, South Korea’s Sung beat reigning world champion Wang 13-21, 21-16, 21-19, in a evenly fought battle, with Sung coming from behind in the third set to win the round robin match.
"I was just too anxious out there, I couldn’t control the game and she was able to come back," a disappointed Wang said as sweat dripped from her face.
"We both played hard and at a high level – she was just better than I was during the last points."
In other matches, Danish veteran Peter Gade celebrated his 35th birthday by dispatching Simon Santoso of Indonesia 21-13, 21-9 in men’s singles, while his compatriot Tine Baun beat Germany’s Juliane Schenk 21-12, 21-11 in the women’s bracket.
"Today my physical condition was really good," Gade said, adding that he had more on his mind than the Superseries title.
"I have already started to change the things I need to change in the preparation for the London Olympics, so I should think in the long term, not just focus on this tournament."
Players at the $500,000 tournament have been divided into groups of four during round-robin play, with the top two in each group advancing to Saturday’s semifinals.