Dubai: Malaysia’s World No. 1 men’s singles player Lee Chong Wei suffered a surprise defeat on Day 1 of 2016 Dubai Superseries Finals, losing to his first opponent Son Wan Ho of Korea in Group B at Hamdan Sports Complex, Dubai on Wednesday.
The Malaysian, returning to action after more than a month off, looked rusty against the No. 2 seed Korean and despite appearing to be back on track when he put up a fight in the second set, he eventually succumbed in straight-set with 10-21, 16-21.
In a must win situation, Lee would need to defeat Angus Ng Ka Long from Hong Kong in his second group B match on Thursday for a chance to advance to the semi-finals.
After a two-sets grueling battle, Olympic champion Carolina Marin of Spain was shocked by Sun Yu of China in her first Group B match, going down 18-21, 22-24 in 59 minutes.
Another upset that took place on Day 1 was in mixed doubles. Olympic mixed doubles gold medal winners Tontowi Ahmad/ Liliyana Natsir seemed losing their focus before going down to compatriots Praveen Jordan/Debby Susanto 11-21, 12-21 in 23 minutes.
Malaysia’s women’s doubles pair Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei also got off a rough start in women’s doubles, defeated by Danish pair of Kamilla Rytter Juhl/Christinna Pedersen, 7-21, 17-21 in the first group B match in 36 minutes.
Meanwhile, World No. 1 men’s doubles champions Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong barely broke a sweat on Day 1 after receiving a bye from Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen of Denmark who made a last minute withdrawal from the tournament.
Goh/Tan are set to play Li Junhui/Liu Yuchen of China in the second group match on Thursday.
The tournament offers a total of USD1 million in prize money (about RM4.42 million).