BIRMINGHAM: It was plain sailing for world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and Chong Wei Feng in the first round of the All-England at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
Chong Wei showed no ill effects of his ankle injury as he scored a comprehensive 21-15, 21-17 win over Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk on Wednesday.
Over on the other court, world No. 16 Wei Feng, who has endured a torrid start to the year, put up a superb attacking display to pack off world No. 11 Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-18, 21-19.
A third Malaysian shuttler was in the fray in the first round. However, Misbun Ramdan Misbun, who came through the qualifiers, went down to Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen 21-15, 21-10.
But the focus was on Chong Wei’s splendid start as he goes in search of his third All-England crown in what could probably be his last appearance.
“The injury is fine … there’s no pain and I’m not even thinking about pulling out any more,” said Chong Wei.
“When I first got onto the court, I was a little worried about the injury but it seems fine in the end.”
Chong Wei was also full of praise for his second-round opponent Wei Feng.
“It’s nice to see Wei Feng playing so well … he has definitely improved a lot,” said Chong Wei.
“He may not be at my level yet but he’s making good progress and I’ll give my best against him tomorrow … without holding back.”
As for Wei Feng, the scrawny Kedahan was just relieved to have picked up his first win of the year following first round exits at the Korean and Malaysian Opens.
“I’m just so happy and so relieved … my form was bad before this, with the Malaysian Open defeat being a low point,” said Wei Feng.
“I started well but got a little tense in the second game … I was making more loose shots after all the long rallies.
“But I’m really just happy to go through and I’m looking forward to facing Chong Wei. He is definitely tough but I’ve learned a lot from the past month training with him and I intend to show it on court.
“Of course, his slight discomfort with his ankle may give me a little advantage,” added a hopeful Wei Feng.
In other results, fifth seed Kenichi Tago of Japan needed three games to subdue India’s P. Kashyap.
But there were shock exits for third seed Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia and eighth seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam, who lost to qualifiers Gao Huan of China and Lee Dong-keun of South Korea respectively.
Women’s singles world champion Ratchanok Intanon nearly suffered an early exit before coming from behind to edge Singapore’s Gu Juan 20-22, 21-15, 21-18.