KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei was all smiles as he became the first person to utilise the instant review system in his win over China’s Wang Zhengming at the Super Series Finals at the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium on Wednesday.
Chong Wei, who is gunning for his fourth Super Series Finals title since winning three from 2008-2010, was hardly troubled by Zhengming, winning 21-10, 21-18 in their Group A match.
The first set was a breeze as the Chinese shuttler appeared affected by the draft.
But it was the second set which became a milestone of sorts as Chong Wei challenged the linesman’s call whilst trailing 2-4. The video review overruled the call in his favour.
The Super Series Finals marks the first time the Badminton World Federation (BWF) is implementing the instant review system.
And Chong Wei gave two thumbs-up to the system, saying he believes it will serve a better purpose for the sport.
“It is good and fair because sometimes the shuttlecock travels so fast that even the linesman can’t see it,” said Chong Wei.
“I don’t argue with the linesman because you can’t fault them at times. With this system, it is so much better.
“I’m proud of BWF for taking the effort and initiative to implement this system and I know all the other players are happy as well.
“As for my match, I think Zhengming was affected by the draft as his shots only reached the halfcourt in the first game.
“For me, it’s a good start but I have to stay focused because I know everyone else wants to beat me on my home ground,” added Chong Wei, who will face Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana on Thursday.
In the other Group A match, Denmark’s world No.4 Jan O Jorgensen struggled to overcome Boonsak in three games 21-19, 13-21, 21-11.
“My legs felt very heavy and I couldn’t move well. It’s not good to drop a game with Chong Wei in the group stage so I need to go for the win against Zhengming next,” said Jorgensen.
In Group B, Indonesia’s Sony Dwi Kuncoro was barely troubled by younger compatriot Tommy Sugiarto, winning 21-19, 21-10.
“Tommy has too much respect for me I think and he was playing his best,” explained Sony.
The biggest shock of the day came courtesy of veteran Thai mixed pair Sudket Prapakamol-Saralee Thoungthongkam, who battled past world champions Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir.
The Thais recovered from a horrible first game to carve out a 9-21 26-24, 21-16 win over the Indonesians.
Top Malaysian mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying also had a day to savour as they snatched a priceless 16-21, 21-14, 21-19 win over England’s Chris Adcock-Gabrielle Adcock.
The win will give them a boost in order to qualify for the semi-finals before they face China’s world No. 1 Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei on Thursday.
“I don’t know why we keep playing rubber games. It’s probably because the last time we met the Adcocks, we lost … so there’s a little measure of respect this time,” said Peng Soon.