Kuala Lumpur: The two badminton reigning world champions – Loh Kean Yew (men’s singles) and Akane Yamaguchi (women’s singles) won’t be playing in the second round at Malaysia Open after both lost in the first round on Tuesday.
Loh who defeated Kidambi Srikanth 21-15, 22-20 in the 2021 BWF World Championships final, went down to Lee Cheuk-Yiu of Hong Kong 19-21, 12-21 on Tuesday.
“I am disappointed in my game. I think I can work on the game better, such as the tactics and control,” said Loh after the match.
“I need to work on the consistency,” added Loh.
Lee Cheuk-Yiu will face the host of the Dubai training camp he attended about four weeks ago – the World No. 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark in the second round.
Axelsen outlasted Brice Leverdez of France 22-20, 21-7 on Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, the reigning women’s singles world champion – Akane Yamaguchi of Japan crashed out of the tournament by losing to World No. 31 Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia 14-21, 14-21.
“My opponent was more prepared than me, and I couldn’t play at my level because I was not used to the drift inside the stadium,” said Yamaguchi.
Meanwhile, Tunjung said Yamaguchi was not at her best in the first game and failed to put pressure on her in the second game.
“It’s clear that Yamaguchi wasn’t playing at her real level. Even though she didn’t win any titles in the last few tournaments, she is still a very strong player. I thought if I win today, I would need to play at least three sets to beat her,” said Tunjung.
Tunjung will next take on World No. 13 Wang Zhi Yi who beat compatriots World No. 9 He Bing Jiao 23-2, 19-21, 21-11 in the first round.