Fri, Sep 14, 2007 - Page 22 News List

Chinese suffer from a disastrous start at the Open in Tokyo

AFP , TOKYO

China got off to a disastrous start on Wednesday at the Japan Open badminton tournament, with women's world champion Zhu Lin and several top seeds on the men's side crashing out in the first round.

The 22-year-old Zhu, the third seed who was a surprise winner at the world championships last month in Kuala Lumpur, failed to keep the momentum in her match against Hong Kong's Yip Pui-yin, losing 21-17, 21-19 in 48 minutes.

"The shuttle was so slow that I couldn't play my normal attacking game with speed. She just tried to hang in there, which made me very tired in the end," Zhu said.

Zhu joined the singles second and third seeds, Bao Chunlai and Chen Hong, in the losers column at the US$200,000 Super Series event. Xu Huaiwen of Germany, last year's European women's champion, also lost in the first round.

Bao went down to Thai ace Boonsak Ponsana 21-19, 12-21, 22-20, while Chen bowed to reigning Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, 22-20, 18-21, 21-13.

It was deja vu for Hidayat, who eliminated Bao in the first round here last year before reaching the final, where he lost to current world number one Lin Dan of China.

On the men's side of the draw, other seeded players moved on to the second round, with Lin, fresh from his victory in the world championships last month, in good form as he beat Joachim Persson of Denmark, 21-18, 21-15.

Commonwealth Games gold medalist Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia, the fourth seed, defeated teammate Mohammad Hafiz Hashim 22-20, 21-8, while fifth seed Chen Jin downed Japan's Sho Sasaki 21-16, 14-21, 21-19.

Six-seed and two-time former Japan champion Peter Gade of Denmark had a 21-15, 21-15 win over Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia.

On the women's side, defending champion Zhang Ning of China whipped Juliane Schenk of Germany 21-19, 21-11, while compatriot Xie Xingfang rallied to beat Judith Meulendijks of the Netherlands, 15-21, 21-14, 21-18.

They joined Wang Chen of Hong Kong and Pi Hongyan of France in the second round. Xu, the sixth seed, lost to Tine Rasumussen of Denmark, 21-14, 21-15.

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