Tokyo: Even though a lot of badminton fans were hoping Lee Chong Wei could beat Lin Dan in the second round of Japan Open, but the cold reality is that Lin Dan who was not in the prime of his career, could still deliver a fatal blow to Lee by winning 25th time in their 34 meetings on Thursday.
Lee cruised to an 11-7 lead in the first set, before Lin recomposed himself to fight back and took the first set 21-17. The second set saw a return to form Lin Dan who never let Lee regain his dominance to close out the match with a 21-10 second set victory.
Despite the disappointment, technical director of Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) Morten Frost remained optimistic after Lee’s loss.
“Chong Wei will participate in many tournaments before Rio Olympics, there is still room for improvement on his fitness and skills,” said Frost.
After the victory, the five-time world champion Lin Dan will take on compatriot Tian Houwei in the quarter-finals on Friday. Tian Houwei pulled off the biggest upset of the day in Tokyo on Thursday, beating world No. 1 Chen Long 21-16, 21-17 in 42 minutes.
No. 3 seed Kidambi Srikanth of India, and No. 4 seed Kento Momota of Japan have all faltered on court in the men’s singles second round. Srikanth lost to Parupalli Kashyap 21-11, 21-19, while the young gun Kento Momota was knocked out of the tournament by Tommy Sugiarto 21-16, 13-21, 19-21 in a thrilling second round duel.
Korean men’s doubles duo, Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang of Korea managed to beat Denmark’s No. 2 seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen after a three-set battle, winning 18-21, 21-18, 21-16.
In other men’s doubles matches, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong made up for Malaysian compatriot Lee Chong Wei’s disappointment to advance to the men’s doubles quarter-finals after they got the better of Denmark’s Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen with 15-21, 22-20, 21-16. Goh/Tan will face a difficult test on Friday, where they will take on Indonesia’s Angga Pratama-Ricky Karanda Suwardi who came out on top against them in the men’s doubles second round of this year’s Chinese Taipei Open.
Meanwhile, world No. 17 mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia was bundled out in the second round by No. 1 seeds Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei of China, losing 15-21, 18-21.