Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Top seed Zhou Mi suffers shock Japan Open defeat

AFP , TOKYO

Men’s world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia hits a smash against Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand during their men’s singles first-round match at the Japan Open badminton tournament in Tokyo yesterday. Lee won 21-9, 21-15.

PHOTO: AFP

Women’s world No. 1 Zhou Mi of Hong Kong crashed out of the Japan Open yesterday in the first round when she was beaten by the unfancied Adriyanti Firdasari.

The Masters Final champion and top seed, who played for China previously, suffered a shock 21-17, 18-21, 21-18 defeat to the Indonesian, ranked 20th in the world.

Zhou put the loss down to lack of fitness — and the air conditioning at the indoor Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium.

“It was difficult in the first game to get used to the wind and its direction. I managed to take the second game, but physically I’m tired in the third game,” said Zhou. “I’m not physically in good form recently. I’ve been playing recently to find out in what aspect I must improve.”

It was Firdasari’s first win over Zhou in three meetings.

In the second round today, Firdasari will play Nicole Grether of Germany, winner over Japan’s Megumi Taruno 21-19, 21-12.

Eighth seed Saina Nehwal of India joined Zhou as a surprise early casualty, losing to Jiang Yanjiao of China 21-15, 21-23, 21-14, but China’s Wang Lin and Wang Yihan, Pi Hongyan of France and Tine Rasmussen of Denmark went through safely.

Men’s world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia brushed aside Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana 21-9, 21-15, showing no ill effects from an old knee injury.

“For sure he is a tough opponent. I just tried to keep myself calm and play my game,” said Lee, title winner in Seoul in 2007.

Other top players including Athens Olympic gold medalist Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, compatriot and defending champion Soni Dwi Kuncoro, Peter Gade of Denmark and last year’s Asian champion Park Sung-Hwan of South Korea also won.

Fourth seed Hidayat beat Chan Yan-kit of Hong Kong, fifth seed Kuncoro beat Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand and third seed Gade outgunned Rajiv Ouseph of England, all in straight games.

Park needed 52 minutes to beat Wong Choong Hann of Malaysia 16-21, 21-13, 21-12, while this year’s Asian champion, Bao Chunlai of China, downed Hong Ji-hoon of South Korea 23-21, 21-16.

It was not a good day for Taiwanese, as Hsieh Yu-hsing lost 21-18, 21-6 to Simon Santoso of Indonesia, while Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia beat Cheng Shao-chieh 21-9, 16-21, 21-14.

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