Tokyo: Wednesday afternoon Lee Chong Wei survived a tougher than expected fight from Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand by a 10-21, 21-15, 21-16 score line to advance to the second round of Japan Open.
Lee struggled to take control of the first set, but he changed tactics and became more proactive in the second and third set to dismantle his rival’s defense and clinched the win on his 1st round match. Lee will meet his Chinese nemesis Lin Dan in the second round.
The opening day of Japan Open was no easy task for Lin Dan either. Lin was on the verge of elimination as he lost the first set against Son Wan Ho of Korea 17-21, and was trailing 18-20 in the second set, before the two-time Olympic gold medalist scrapped his way back to rescue 5 match points and took second set 25-23 to force the decider.
In the third set, after 11-11, Lin picked up right where he left off to prevailing in the rubber game 21-17 in a battle that lasted 93 minutes.
Meanwhile, men’s singles top seed Chen Long needed only 38 minutes to wrap up his opener against Rajiv Ouseph of England 21-10, 21-14.
However, No. 8 seed Wang Zhengming was upset by unseeded Hu Yun of Hong Kong on Wednesday, losing 21-10, 19-21, 18-21.
In a reversal of fortunes, Liu Xiaolong/Qiu Zihan of China who defeated Danish pair Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen in the men’s doubles quarter-finals of last month’s World Championships in Jakarta, slipped to their 1st round loss to the Denmark duo 17-21, 17-21 in 42 minutes.
Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia also earned a hard-fought win against Hiroyuki Saeki/Ryota Taohata of Japan 19-21, 21-19, 21-16 in 56 minutes. Another Malaysian men’s doubles pair Hoon Thien How/Lim Khim Wah was beaten in three sets 23-21, 19-21, 11-21 by Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang of Korea.
Other men’s doubles pairs namely top seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong of Korea, Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia all moving on into the second round.