New York: Badminton superstar Datuk Lee Chong Wei began his first official men’s tournament in the US Open Grand Prix Gold on Tuesday, after his eight-month suspension was lifted on May 1.
Prior to US Open, Lee played in two team events namely the Sudirman Cup in Dongguan, China, in May and last week’s SEA Games in Singapore. Lee demonstrated his dominance and was unbeatable during his matches at these team events.
The Malaysian badminton maestro walked onto Suffolk County Community College’s Health, Sports & Education Center, New York, looked energized and eager to play on Wednesday evening. The unseeded Malaysian shuttler was impenetrable on defense and charged around the court to defeat Rasmus Fladberg of Denmark 21-13, 21-11 as he waltzed into third round of US Open in 32 minutes.
Lee outlasted Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai in the first round competition 21-14, 21-13 in just 37 minutes on Tuesday.
Too many long-running matches have caused significant delays for matches played later on Wednesday. Malaysia’s independent men’s doubles pair Hoon Thien How-Lim Khim Wah took the court after waited for an hour and a half. Unfortunaely, Hoon Thien How-Lim Khim Wah suffered a stunning 19-21,15-21 loss to Baptiste Careme/Ronan Labar of France in their men’s doubles opening match that lasted 32 minutes.
After the US Open, Lee will go on to play in the Canadian Open next week. Playing in these tournaments would be a good warm-up for him ahead of the World Championships in Jakarta in August.
Meanwhile, another Malaysian World Championship qualifier, Zulfadli Zulkifli was bundled out of the US Open first round by third seed Hans-Kristian Vittinghus of Denmark on Tuesday, losing 21-19, 14-21, 23-25 in 72 minutes.