KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Former World No. 1 Peter Gade of Denmark cleared the first hurdle in his bid to win the elusive World Badminton Championship title, beating England's Andrew Smith 21-18, 21-10 on Tuesday.
It took the 31-year old Dane only 36 minutes to put Smith out of the competition and earn a second round match against Hong Kong's Chan Yan Kit. The world title has eluded Gade in five previous attempts, and the closest he came was in the 2001 series in Seville, Spain where he finished runner-up to Indonesia's Hendrawan. In the 1999 series in Copenhagen and the 2005 edition in Anaheim, California, he managed to win the bronze.
"Maybe a gold this time would be just nice to complete the entire collection of medals from the World Championship," said Gade, the 5th seed here. "But I must admit it's not going to be easy. All along I have said that it wasn't an easy draw for me."
Gade also must face 2nd seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and 3rd seed Chen Jin of China in his half of the draw.
"But for now I am not thinking about the two of them. I have to worry about Kit," said Gade, the Malaysian Open winner earlier this year.
Chen Jin is one of four Chinese men's singles challengers here together with the No. 1 seed and defending champion Lin Dan, 4th seed Bao Chunlai and 6th seed Chen Yu.
Chen Jin eased into the next round with an easy 21-9, 21-5 victory over Portugal's Marco Vasconcelos. Chen Yu too had an easy day, beating New Zealand's John Moody 21-13,21-11 for a second round match against the lanky German Bjoern Joppien.
"But I am still struggling with my fitness after just having recovered from a bout of flu back home," said Chen Yu. "In fact I was still having a slight headache when I played the New Zealander. But it's a good workout," said Chen Yu, the All-England and the German Open runner-up earlier in the year.
It was also an encouraging day for the hosts when Mohammad Roslin Hashim, the 2001 world No. 1, overcame his first opponent, Magnus Salhberg of Sweden, 21-17, 21-19 to join his younger brother, Mohammad Hafiz, in the next round.
Also through to the last 32 is Malaysia's No 1 women's singles player Wong Mew Choo, the 10th seed who beat Simone Prutch of Austria 21-10, 21-9 and will play Russia's Ekatarina Ananina next.
Malaysia's mixed doubles pair of Tan Wee Kiong and Woon Khe Wei also came through their opening round match with a 21-18, 13-21, 21-19 win over Mike Beres and Valerie Loker of Canada.