Badminton: Chen begins world title defence with ease but Sugiarto and Wong exit

Chen, who has already won four titles this season, stressed he would take one match at a time.
Chen, who has already won four titles this season, stressed he would take one match at a time.PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA (AFP) - World No. 1 Chen Long's bid to defend his world badminton crown got off to a strong start on Wednesday with the Chinese star dismissing Raul Must in Jakarta.

The Chinese top seed, who was given an opening-round bye, defeated the unseeded Estonian 21-15, 21-7 to breeze into the third round of the tournament.

He is expected to encounter little trouble until the quarter-finals, where he will likely face seventh-seeded Dane Viktor Axelsen.

Chen, who has already won four titles this season, was not getting ahead of himself, however, and stressed he would take one match at a time.

"Today there are many good players," the 26-year-old told reporters. "They could all win. I will be focusing on playing well in each round."

It seems a wise approach from the defending champion, who has faltered early in other tournaments this year against lesser-ranked opponents.

Singapore's Derek Wong went down again to Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, by 12-21, 14-21 in just half an hour, after falling to the Thai in three games in the quarter-finals of the SEA Games individual competition in June.

It was also the end of the road for Indonesian home favourite Tommy Sugiarto, the 15th seed, who lost 24-26, 21-8, 20-22 to Hong Kong's Wei Nan.

Five-time world champion Lin Dan marched onward in his campaign for a sixth crown, brushing aside 75th-ranked Daniel Paiola 21-14, 21-14 on Tuesday.

But the fifth seed and two-time Olympic champion was surprised at the resistance he encountered playing the unseeded Brazilian, suggesting he was feeling his age.

"My physical condition is not like it used to be," the 31-year-old told reporters. "I did not think my opponent would be so difficult. He played better than I imagined."

But for Paiola the opportunity just to play Lin, the superstar whose technique he had admired for years, was a career high. "I don't have words to describe it," the 26-year-old said. "It is my dream to play here in Indonesia and against Lin Dan."

Unseeded Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh overpowered the 10th seed Indian Kashyap Parupalli 17-21, 21-13, 21-18.

His countryman, 11th seed H.S. Prannoy, was more fortunate, taking a place in the last 16 with a routine victory over Uganda's Edwin Ekiring 21-14, 21-19. He will face Axelsen on Thursday after the Dane cleaned up Polish shuttler Adrian Dziolko 21-13, 21-15.

The former junior world champion knew the moment he saw the draw that a third-round clash against Prannoy would be a tough prospect. "He's a tricky player," he said. "I beat him in India earlier this year, so hopefully I can play well tomorrow."

World No. 2 Jan Jorgensen, Malaysian superstar Lee Chong Wei, Japanese young gun Kento Momota and women's second seed Saina Nehwal all have their second-round matches later on Wednesday.