Lin Dan pleased with great start as favourites coast

NANJING (China) • Chinese badminton star Lin Dan has acknowledged that at 34, he will inevitably be lacking when it comes to the physical aspect of his game.

But he still managed to roll back the years and make a fast start to his challenge at the World Championships in Nanjing yesterday.

He defeated Dutchman Mark Caljouw 21-14, 21-14 in the first round in 49 minutes as he went in search of his sixth world title.

"Today I have prepared sufficiently and competed well," said Lin, who added that he relied on his experience and improvisation on court to outwit his opponent.

"When it comes to major competitions, the most important thing is to keep calm. Only that way can I ensure that I get through the rest of the competition smoothly."

However, Lin insisted that he did not feel world No. 31 Caljouw was a weak player, saying: "He is very tall, and has a distinct style of attack. His defence and point-saving skills are also good."

The ninth seed was not the only big name to successfully get through the first round yesterday.

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.

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.

Shi's compatriot Chen Long, meanwhile, beat Chinese Taipei's Hsu Jen-hao 21-13, 21-15.

Malaysian star Lee Chong Wei is absent from the tournament as he is in Taiwan seeking treatment for a respiratory illness. "As his opponent and friend, I hope that he will recover soon," said Lin.

Axelsen also backed Lee to battle through the illness. "I really hope that Chong Wei will get well soon and the treatment goes well," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2018, with the headline 'Lin Dan pleased with great start as favourites coast'. Print Edition | Subscribe