Kuala Lumpur: World champion Chen Long of China was on top form as he stormed into the second round of the Malaysia Open after an easy win over Japan’s Takuma Ueda on Wednesday.
The top-seeded Chen, who is coming off the back of a victorious run at the All-England Championships, was taken the distance in the first game, before some brilliant footwork earned him a 22-20 victory.
The reigning world champion cut a more dominant figure in the second, dictating play at the front court, combined with razor sharp smashes to take the second game 21-16 and breeze into the next round, where he faces India’s Parupalli Kashyap.
Two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan meanwhile barely broke a sweat as he moved into the second round after his opponent Tommy Sugiarto retired in the first game with a back injury in the US$500,000 Malaysia Open badminton championship.
Sugiarto had defeated the Chinese maestro at the Indian Open last week.
Lin, who has won every title the game has to offer except the Malaysia Open is on a mission to fill that gap, made easier following the absence of his long-time Malaysian nemesis Lee Chong Wei, who is currently suspended for a doping violation.
“I missed the previous two tournaments, so I am looking to do well here and win for the first time,” he said.
“I was looking forward to play Chong Wei on his home ground, but unfortunately that is not possible because of his predicament,” added Lin, who is looking to win a third successive Olympic gold medal next year in Rio.
Lin will take on India’s H.S. Prannoy in the second round.
There were no upsets in the men’s singles as second seed Jan Jorgensen registered a 21-11, 21-17 victory over Korean veteran Lee Hyun Il.
The women’s singles saw newly crowned world number one Saina Nehwal build on her triumph at the Indian Open on Sunday by brushing aside Indonesia’s Maria Febe Kusumastuti 21-13, 21-16 to set up a meeting against Chinese qualifier Yao Xue.
“The feeling of being world number one has yet to sink in, but it’s a great achievement for me, I never thought I’d be here seven months after changing coach,” said Saina.