Birmingham: Lee Chong Wei made a winning return to competitive badminton on Wednesday after suffering a Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) on his left knee last month, thrilling his supporters at Barclaycard Arena as he beat France player Brice Leverdez 21-15, 21-12 to advance to the second round.
Lee who was playing with heavy strapping over his left knee, said although he was not hundred percent, but he was motivated for a strong run at the All England.
“I didn’t play well, but I at least tried to return every shot. I just want to forget about my injury when I am on the court,” said Lee.
Lee extended his career head-to-head advantage against Leverdez to 7-1 after the victory on Wednesday. Leverdez caused a major upset in the quarter-final of last year’s Denmark Open by beating Lee 21-17, 20-22, 21-19. Lee will play last week’s German Open runner-up Wang Tzu Wei of Taiwan next.
The men’s singles No. 6 seed Lin Dan eased clear Malaysia’s Zulfadli Zulkiffli 21-11, 21-12 in the opener to set up a second round encounter with compatriot Huang Yuxiang on Thursday.
There wasn’t much trouble for No. 6 seed Chen Long in the first round either, when he beat 2012 European Champion Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-17, 21-7 to meet Thai player Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk in the second round.
Chen might have also been benefited from the departure of Son Wan-Ho who was drawn into the same half as him, when the No. 4 seed Son from South Korea retired with an ankle injury after trailing 1-4 against Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in the first set.
In men’s doubles, Denmark’s No. 2 seeds pair Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen was a little rusty in their opener, stunned by Lu Kai/Zheng Siwei of China 15-21, 20-22. The Indonesia/Malaysia combo of Hendra Setiawan/Tan Boon Heong was also sluggish and was knocked out of the first round by No. 5 seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia 12-21, 17-21 in only 24 minutes.
On the contrary, Malaysia’s men’s doubles top seeds Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong did just enough to beat Takuro Hoki/Yugo Kobayashi of Japan 21-15, 21-18 and eased into the second round. They will play Liu Xiaolong/Xu Chen of China next.
Mixed doubles No. 6 seeds Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying of Malaysia also charged into the second round by overcoming Nico Ruponen/Amanda Hogstrom of Sweden 21-12, 21-19 in 35 minutes. Chan/Goh will seek revenge against Zhang Nan/Li Yinhui of China on Thursday after losing to the Chinese pair in the quarter-final of last week’s German Open.