* Former World No 1 taken the full distance by Boonsak
* Lin Dan also stretched by Korean Son Wan-ho
* Mixed fortunes for Malaysia’s mixed doubles pairs
* V Shem-Wee Kiong also off to a winning start
It did not happen at the World Championships in Jakarta but two of the biggest names in the world of badminton – Malaysia’s former World No 1 Datuk Lee Chong Wei and China’s superstar Lin Dan will clash in the second round in the Yonex Japan Open in Tokyo on Thursday.
The two were expected to meet in the semi-finals in the world meet but Lin Dan – the five-time world champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist was beaten by Denmark’s Jan O Jorgensen in the quarter-finals.
Chong Wei and Lin Dan, both unseeded, won their first round matches in the Japan Open in similar fashion – coming back from a set down before winning to advance in the USD275,000 superseries event.
The Malaysian was taken the full distance by Thai ace Boonsak Ponsana before prevailing 10-21, 21-15, 21-16 in 56 minutes in his first round match at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Lin Dan, however, stayed even longer on the court in his titanic battle against South Korean Son Wan-ho – a good 93 minutes in an energy sapping encounter before the Chinese star came off 17-21, 25-23, 21-17 winner.
The 33-year-old Malaysian, fresh from winning the silver medal in the World Championships in Jakarta last month where he lost to China’s defending champion Chen Long, is playing his first Superseries after coming back from a eight-month ban for drug abuse.
Chong Wei had to come through the qualifying rounds in Tokyo before making the main draw after defeating Scotland’s Alistair Casey 21-3, 21-3 in the first round and South Korean Heo Kwang-hee 21-10, 21-12 in the second round.
Top seed and hot favourite Chen Long of China had little difficulty against England’s Rajic Ouseph in his 21-10, 21-14 win while fourth seed Kento Momota was a 21-17, 21-17 winner against Hong Kong’s Wei Nan.
Malaysia’s top doubles pair Goh V Sehm-Tan Wee Kiong also cleared the first hurdle but it came the hard way – winning 19-21, 21-19, 21-16 win over Japanese qualifiers Hiroyuki Saeki-Ryota Taohata in 56 minutes.
However it was the end of the road for privateers Hoon Thien How-Lim Khim Wah who went down 23-21, 19-21, 11-21to Korea’s Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang in 65 minutes.
It was a day of mixed fortunes for Malaysia in the mixed doubles. World No 17 Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying advanced to the second round with a 21-16, 21-18 win over China’s ang Yilv-Luo Yu while Tan Aik Quan-Lai Pei Jing came unstuck against third seeds Tontowi Ahmad-Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia 17-21, 17-21.
Selected Results (First Round)
Datuk Lee Chong Wei (Mas) beat Boonsak Ponsana (Tha) 10-21, 21-15, 21-16
Chen Long (Chn) beat Rajiv Ouseph (Eng) 21-10, 21-14
Kento Momota (Jpn) beat Wei Nan (Hkg) 21-17, 21-17
Viktor Axelsen (Den) beat Ajay Jayaram (Ind) 21-10, 21-10
Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas) beat Hiroyuki Saeki-Ryota Taohata (Jpn) 19-21, 21-19, 21-16
Kim Gi-jung-Kim Sa-rang (Kor) beat Hoon Thien How-Lim Khim Wah (Mas) 21-23, 21-19, 21-11
Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (Mas) beat Wang Yilv-Luo Yu (Chn) 21-16, 21-18
Tontowi Ahmad Liliyana Natsir (Ina) beat Tan Aik Quan-Lai Pei Jing (Mas) 21-17, 21-17