NANJING (China) • Japan's Kento Momota brushed off any talk of pressure after the world No. 7 made a blistering start to his badminton World Championships campaign yesterday.
The explosive 23-year-old is the man in form coming into the Nanjing showpiece and is tipped by many to win the tournament.
After swatting aside Ukraine's Artem Pochtarov 21-13, 21-12 in the first round, Momota said: "I don't take the attention at home and abroad as pressure, but instead motivation.
"The first match was an easy win. I feel very good now and hope I can win all the matches. I want to win," Xinhua news agency quoted the sixth seed as saying.
Momota will next take on Luka Wraber, the 136th-ranked Austrian, today.
In the women's draw, world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei eased through to underline her status as the woman to beat.
The top seed was never really in trouble against Wendy Chen of Australia, winning 21-10, 21-16 to reach the third round.
Similarly untroubled were former No. 1 Saina Nehwal of India, the 10th seed, who beat Turkey's Aliye Demirbag 21-17, 21-8.
However, Thai star Ratchanok Intanon survived a major scare as the fourth seed was forced to battle back from the brink of a shock early exit before prevailing 16-21, 22-20, 21-10.
Ratchanok, the 2013 champion, looked set to go out to the unseeded Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark, before recovering her poise to gleefully reach the third round.
The 23-year-old Thai went down in the first game after a lacklustre display and was struggling for rhythm in much of the second, trailing 19-16 at one stage.
But the former No. 1 then stormed back to squeeze through the second game and then raced away in the decider.
She will face Nehwal tomorrow.
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