Paris: It used to be that Lin Dan’s crashing out of a tournament in a first round would prompt the biggest headlines in badminton. But in a year in which Lin Dan has fallen short of the high standard he has set for himself, each subsequent loss seems less newsworthy.
The latest came Wednesday afternoon at the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium in Paris, with third-ranked Lin Dan falling, 21-14, 11-21, 17-21 to Indian shuttler, world No. 16 H. S. Prannoy in 70 minutes. No longer was the dominant presence he once was, Lin also sent packing in the first round at the Australian Open and Indonesia Open in May and in June of this year.
The first-round loss of Lin Dan nullified the prospect of a 35th meeting between Lin and former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, which would have occurred here in the finals.
Lee Chong Wei, on the other hand, easily beat Brice Leverdez of France 21-7, 21-15 to face No. 7 seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark next. Axelsen needed 51 minutes to down Wei Nan of Hong Kong 21-13, 16-21, 21-11.
Earlier Wednesday, men’s No. 1 seed Chen Long has withdrawn from the French Open, the empty spot was filled by Lee Dong Keun of Korea. Lee Dong Keun ended up dispatched last week’s Denmark Open runner-up Tommy Sugiarto 21-16, 14-21, 21-19 in a grueling 3-setter.
Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia who has tried to turn around his slump in form suffered another defeat on Wednesday, losing to Sho Sasaki of Japan 18-21, 11-21. That was Chong’s 5th defeat against the Japanese in their 7th encounters.
In the women’s doubles matches that were played Wednesday, Christinna Pedersen/Kamilla Rytter Juhl of Denmark beat Malaysian pair Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei 19-21, 21-19, 21-10 in 72 minutes. Another Malaysian women’s pair also Amelia Alicia Anscelly/Soong Fie Cho was also knocked out of the tournament, losing 14-21, 16-21 to Chae Yoo Jung/Kim So Yeong of Korea.
Carolina Marin, Saina Nehwal, and Tai Tzu Ying all advanced to the women’s singles second round. Tee Jing Yi of Malaysia was granted a walkover by No. 7 seed Sung JiHyun of Korea and will play winner between Maria Febe Kusumastuti of Indonesia and Beatriz Corrales of Spain in the second round.
After losing a set, Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong of Malaysia saw off No. 6 seeds Chai Biao/Hong Wei of China 21-16, 16-21, 21-12 in 53 minutes. The Malaysians will play Kim Gi Jung/Kim Sa Rang of Korea on Thursday.
Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong were utterly dominant as they beat Andrew Ellis/Peter Mills of England to 21-16, 21-17 to set up a second round showdown against No. 5 seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa of Japan in the men’s doubles second round.