Top seed Momota complains of nerves in opening win

BASEL • Olympic gold medallist Chen Long advanced to the second round of badminton's World Championships with a straight-set victory over Russia's Vladimir Malkov yesterday at the St Jakobshalle in Switzerland.

The third-seeded Chen, who last won the world title in 2014 and 2015, fought off a a dogged Malkov in the second set, in which the Chinese trailed 12-14, but managed to regain the momentum for a 21-14, 21-17 victory in 58 minutes.

The 30-year-old will next take on Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong, who beat China's Huang Yuxiang 21-13, 21-14 .

"I was a little bit nervous," said Chen, who is competing in his seventh world championships.

"This is the first match and he has been playing very well this season. But I have been well-prepared and did pretty well at the crucial moment."

His compatriot and five-time world champion Lin Dan also progressed to the next round, recovering from a first-set loss to down Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam 16-21, 21-12, 21-12.

Also through was Japanese world No. 1 and defending champion Kento Momota, who revealed he is feeling the pressure from the attention, despite easing past Vietnam's Pham Cao Cuong 21-9, 21-10.

Speaking to Badminton Europe, he said: "I am really nervous. I have some strong feelings that are hard to describe. I would like to change that mindset and find the right motivation.

"Last year was different, I was not the top seed, and could be more relaxed."

In the women's singles, Singapore's Yeo Jia Min continued her recent run of good form with a 21-13, 21-13 victory over Turk Aliye Demirbag. The Hyderabad Open champion's reward is a second-round clash against top seed Akane Yamaguchi.

The Japanese player beat Yeo in both of their meetings, including a rubber-set win in the second round of April's Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2019, with the headline 'Top seed Momota complains of nerves in opening win'. Print Edition | Subscribe