Lacklustre Lin vows to fight in Tokyo bid

LONDON • China's Lin Dan has admitted that he is "finding it more and more difficult to focus" after crashing out of the All England Open at the first hurdle on Wednesday, losing 19-21, 21-14, 21-7 to Japanese Kana Tsuneyama.

It was Lin's worst result at the badminton championships - his previous earliest exit came in 2003 in the round of 16 - and afterwards, the six-time winner admitted he found it "difficult to fight back" after his "concentration was interrupted".

But the two-time Olympic gold medallist will not allow the upset to derail his bid to win a place at Tokyo 2020, saying: "Every player is fighting very hard to win more points because of the coming Olympics. I will play more tournaments for more ranking points."

Reigning Olympic champion Chen Long suffered the same fate in Birmingham on Wednesday, wasting a 14-9 lead in the second set before bowing out 21-15, 21-17 to Denmark's Rasmus Gemke.

Their exits have left compatriot Shi Yuqi in pole position to retain his title. After beating the Dane Anders Antonsen 21-17, 21-16, he said: "There is certainly some pressure as the defending champion, but I will turn the pressure into motivating strength.

"I feel more confident after the first match."

Third seed Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei also joined the list of shocks, losing 21-14, 16-21, 24-22 to China's Huang Yuxiang.

In the women's draw, Indian fifth seed P.V. Sindhu was defeated 21-16, 20-22, 21-18 by South Korea's Sung Ji-hyun while No. 7 Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand lost to Chen Xiaoxin of China 21-23, 24-22, 21-14.

There were no problems for the top two seeds. Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei, bidding for a third successive title, beat Michelle Li of Canada 21-12, 21-15 while Japan's Nozomi Okuhara defeated Gregoria Mariska Tunjung of Indonesia 21-17, 21-16.

Singapore's Yeo Jia Min also lost in her opener, 21-19, 22-20 to 2012 champion Li Xuerui of China.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2019, with the headline 'Lacklustre Lin vows to fight in Tokyo bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe