Hong Kong: Lee Chong Wei charged past his first hurdle in the quest for a fourth Hong Kong Open title at the Hong Kong Coliseum on Wednesday, with the unseeded Malaysian delivering a 21-16, 21-15 victory over No. 8 seed Tommy Sugiarto of Indonesia.
Lee set up a second-round contest with a good friend he has beaten in all eleven of their matches as he plays Marc Zwiebler after the German started with a 21-17, 21-19 defeat of Brice Leverdez of France.
“It’s always a tough match against Tommy Sugiarto, but I’m just trying to enjoy every bit of this tournament,” said Lee.
Lee’s nemesis, five-time world champion and double Olympic gold medalist Lin Dan, however was struggling a little bit to get to the second round as the No. 3 seed needed 67 minutes to see off Ihsan Maulana Mustofa of Indonesia 21-17, 15-21, 21-14. Lin Dan will play local shuttler Angus Ng Ka Long on Thursday.
“The younger player just play freely and do what suits them best, therefore, I am not surprise to be pushed into a three-set match by Mustofa,” said Lin.
Men’s singles No. 1 seed and current world number one Chen Long also battle past Indian Ajay Jayaram 21-17, 21-12 in the opener.
Nevertheless, Wednesday turned out to be a disastrous day for several top men’s singles shuttlers who suffered early exits at Hong Kong Open.
No. 2 seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark was sent packing by unseeded Wang Zhengming 15-21, 19-21 while his compatriot No. 7 seed Viktor Axelsen who has grown into a very solid player in 2015 was crushed by Kazumasa Sakai of Japan 17-21, 10-21.
Sixth-seeded Kidambi Srikanth of India who had reached the semifinals of the event last year, suffered his fifth defeat to Tian Houwei of China on Wednesday after his grueling fight ended with a narrow 16-21, 21-15, 22-24 loss to the World No. 10 Chinese in a men’s singles match that lasted one hour and 13 minutes.
Malaysia’s Chong Wei Feng surprisingly manage to trounce Hu Yun 21-17, 12-21, 21-15 to advance to the second round. Chong will face Wang Zheng Ming on Thursday.
Besides good news from Lee Chong Wei and Chong Wei Feng in the men’s singles category, the Malaysian camp experienced mixed fortunes in men’s doubles on the opening day. World No. 15 Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong eased to a first-round win against Lin Chia Yu/Wu Hsiao-Lin of Taiwan 21-18, 21-11 in 30 minutes; while Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong took just 32 minutes to complete their first round victory over Liao Min Chun/Tseng Min Hao 21-15, 21-17. However, another Malaysian pair was defeated by Wang Yilv/Zhang Wen of China 18-21, 17-21.
Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong will face a tough second round when they will take on the 2014 world champions Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol of Korea. Meanwhile, Koo Kien Keat/ Tan Boon Heong will have to vanquish the formidable No. 6 seeds Chai Biao/Hong Wei for a spot in the quarter-finals.