Badminton: Easy opener for Lee Chong Wei as his key rivals struggle at All-England

LONDON (Reuters) - It was a near-perfect day for Malaysia's world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei at the All England badminton championships on Wednesday, as he cruised through the first round while his main rivals struggled.

Lee beat Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-15, 21-17 to book his place in the second round, while world No. 3 Tommy Sugiarto was dumped out of the tournament by China's Gao Huan, losing 13-21, 21-10, 18-21.

Another of Lee's main rivals, Chen Long, had also looked in danger of an early exit when he lost his first game 21-10 to Denmark's Viktor Axelsen. Last year's All-England winner found himself trailing in the second game but fought back to win 21-15, then completed the victory 21-12 in the deciding game.

"The All England championships is a tournament that has a lot of character and it is not a surprise to see a big upset caused by a lower ranked player to a high ranked player," Chen said.

"It's a really special tournament and it is unique and everyone wants to win it. It was almost a bad result for me but I can handle losing, what I cannot handle is playing badly."

Chen next plays Japan's Takuma Ueda while Lee plays compatriot Chong Wei Feng.