Kuala Lumpur: All eyes were on World No. 3 Lee Chong Wei as he walked on to the court on Wednesday. Greeted by cheers, the Malaysia badminton superstar who is bidding to become the first man to win the Malaysian Open for a record 11th time, made the home crowd very happy as he handed Japanese Takuma Ueda a first round loss by defeating the Japanese 21-11, 21-8 in the first round of Malaysia Open.
Lee will play South Korea’s Son Wan Ho on Thursday who brushed aside another Malaysian shuttler Goh Soon Huat 21-16, 5-21, 21-13 at the Malawati Stadium.
“Son Wan Ho is a good player and cannot be underestimated. He defeated Lin Dan in the quarterfinals at India Open,” said Lee.
The 33-year-old world No. 3 shuttler who suffered two early exits in March, losing to Indian B. Sai Praneeth in the first round of All-England and was defeated by Hong Kong’s Wei Nan in the second-round of Indian Open, is aiming to bounce back in Shah Alam.
“Right now, I am hoping to get better seeding at the Olympics, although I’m already qualified for Rio based on ranking. Therefore, I must be physically and mentally strong against my opponents,” added Lee Chong Wei.
Malaysia’s national champion Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin also advanced to the second round after his 21-16, 21-19 victory against Anthony Ginting of Indonesia. Zainuddin faces a tough second round match-up against No. 5 seed Jan Jorgensen of Denmark.
Defending men’s singles champion Chen Long and two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan also breezed into Malaysia Open second round.
Meanwhile, women’s singles player Tee Jing Yi of Malaysia will clash with Carolina Marin of Spain in the second round.
Except Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong who defeated Chen Hung Ling/Wang Chi- Lin of Taiwan in straight-sets, Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong and Hoon Thien How/Teo Kok Siang had to fight hard to fend off a fine effort from their opponent in three-sets in the first round of Malaysia Open.
Goh/Tan are set to play No. 1 seeds Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong in the second round, while Koo/Tan will take on No. 7 seeds Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol and Hoon/Teo will play No. 6 seeds Hiroyuki Endo/Kenichi Hayakawa on Thursday.
World No. 14 women’s doubles pair Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei who are in a race against time to secure an Olympic spot, will meet tough opponents the No. 3 seeds Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi of Japan in the second round and Malaysia’s mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying will square off against Xu Chen/Ma Jin of China for a quarter-final berth.