Birmingham: Six-times All England champion Lin Dan who had suffered three first round exits at Malaysia Masters, Indonesia Masters, and Thailand Masters early this year, finally won his first victory of the season when he came back from dropping the first set to beat three-time World Junior Champion, Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand 13-21, 22-20, 21-10 in 64 minutes.
This year’s All England could be make or break for Lin Dan’s 2020 Olympic dream. He would at least need to make the final 16 at All England and do well in upcoming tournaments such as Swiss Open, India Open, Singapore Open, Malaysia Open and the 2020 Asia Championships to stand a chance for a shot at the Tokyo Games.
Lin Dan will play compatriot No. 3 seed Chen Long next.
In another men’s singles match, World No. 13 Lee Zii Jia of Malaysia was thrilled with the first victory in his fifth encounter with World No. 6 Jonatan Christie in the All England opener, when he beat the Indonesian 21-15, 21-13 at the Birmingham Arena.
“I’m glad I finally got my revenge. This is the fifth time we have met and I succeeded in defeating him,” said Lee.
Lee would face China’s World No. 22 Lu Guang Zhu in the second round and hoped the victory over the world’s number six player would boost his spirits.
“I have been against Guang Zhu before and I hope to be able to prepare well for it,” added Lee.
Meanwhile, the national men’s singles head coach Hendrawan said Lee’s victory was very convincing.
“Perhaps he has faced Jonathan several times and he was playing with no pressure,” said Hendrawan.
In men’s doubles, Malaysia’s Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi put up a spirited fight to down He Ji Ting/Tan Qiang of China 19-21, 21-15, 21-12 in 53 minutes to set up second round meeting with Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin of Taiwan.
Meanwhile, men’s doubles No. 8 seeds Aaron Chia/Soh Wooi Yik needed only 25 minutes to overcome teammates Goh Sze Fei/Nur Izzuddin 21-15, 21-17 on Wednesday. Chia/Soh will take on Lu Ching Yao/Yang Po Han next.