PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei made the perfect rebound after cruising through his first round match in the French Open in Paris on Tuesday.
Chong Wei, who turned 31 on Monday, had suffered an untimely defeat to world No. 2 Chen Long in the Denmark Open final on Sunday.
But he did not let that affect him one bit as he outclassed India’s P. Kashyap 22-20, 21-12 in 37 minutes.
Chong Wei, who skipped the French meet last year, will face another Indian, Ajay Jayaram, in the second round on Thursday.
It was however a disappointing finish for defending champion Liew Daren who bowed out in the first round.
The 26-year-old Daren, who retired after only eight minutes in his first round Danish Open match against Kashyap due to a swollen foot, failed to take advantage of a one-game lead against sixth-seeded Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.
It was just not Daren’s best performance as he lost 21-15, 15-21, 19-21, despite leading 19-14 in the rubber game.
Boonsak will face either India’s K. Srikanth or Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki in the second round.
World No. 18 Chong Wei Feng also had a disappointing outing in Paris as he failed to get the better of Japanese veteran Sho Sasaki in the first round.
The scrawny Wei Feng who was brilliant in beating Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh in the Danish meet last week just couldn’t reproduce the same form as he went down 19-21, 21-13, 13-21 to Sasaki, who will take on compatriot and third seed Kenichi Tago next.
Meanwhile in the men’s doubles, world No. 13 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong have the perfect opportunity to make a strong comeback.
The pair who were a letdown in Denmark, were initially expected to meet Indonesian world champions Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan in the second round in Paris.
But the top-seeded pair have withdrawn from the tournament following Ahsan’s right shoulder injury.
“Ahsan had the injury during the Japan Open last month but it wasn’t a big problem. It did affect his performance though in the Denmark Open final and he has gone back to Indonesia to rest and recuperate,” said Indonesian doubles coach Hery I.P.
Thien How-Wee Kiong who should have no problems getting past Polish pair Adam Cwalina-Przemyslaw Wacha in their first round match (to be played late Wednesday), should have an easier path to the quarter-finals where they will face South Korea’s Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong.
“To lose in the second round of the Denamrk Open last week was a bit disappointing and we actually prepared for a tougher time in France. I guess we’re a little lucky but we can only take it one match at a time,” said Wee Kiong.
Yong-dae-Yeon-seong, the Danish Open champions, were given a tough fight in the first round in Paris, taken to three games before eliminating China’s Fu Haifeng-Hong Wei 21-17, 22-24, 21-14.
The other Malaysians still in the fray are men’s top pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying who both face Japanese opponents – Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata and Hashimoto-Miyuki Maeda respectively.