Badminton: Legend Lin Dan ruthless in world c'ships opener with big names playing to form

Lin Dan of China hits a shot against Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in their men's singles match during the badminton World Championships in Nanjing, China, on July 30, 2018.
Lin Dan of China hits a shot against Mark Caljouw of the Netherlands in their men's singles match during the badminton World Championships in Nanjing, China, on July 30, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

NANJING, CHINA (AFP) - Chinese superstar Lin Dan rolled back the years and made a fast start to his challenge at the badminton World Championships on Monday (July 30).

The 34-year-old is seeking a sixth world title. In front of a partisan home crowd in Nanjing, the ninth-seeded "Super Dan" made light work of Dutchman Mark Caljouw, winning 21-14, 21-14 in 49 minutes.

Viktor Axelsen, the top seed and reigning champion from Denmark, was even more emphatic, needing just 26 minutes to thrash Duarte Nuno Anjo of Portugal 21-8, 21-7 in a mismatch.

Also safely through on the first day of action was China's third seed Shi Yuqi, a comfortable 21-13, 21-11 winner over Adam Mendrek of the Czech Republic.

Other home players also comfortably made it through.

Rio Olympic champion Chen Long who is seeded eighth, beat Chinese Taipei's Hsu Jen-hao 21-13, 21-15. The unseeded Huang Yuxiang took out Vietnam's Pham Cao Cuong 21-19, 21-11.

Second seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, a three-time runner-up, gave a walkover to Brice Leverdez after withdrawing from the tournament last week to receive treatment in Taiwan for a respiratory illness.

That prevented an eagerly awaited rematch after the Frenchman shocked him in the first round in Glasgow a year earlier.