Taiwan’s top badminton duo was upset by Indian opponents on Wednesday in the women’s doubles second round of the London World Badminton Championships (WBC).
Former world No.1 pair Chien Yu-chin and Cheng Wen-hsin were defeated 21-18, 21-18 by the quick racket action of Indian duo Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa, gold medalists from last year’s Commonwealth Games. Their end came swift — in less than 30 minutes.
The second-seeded Taiwanese pair, who bagged the bronze at the tournament last year, defeated the Indians in straight sets in their last meeting in May.
In the mixed doubles division, Chien and Taiwanese compatriot Lee Sheng-mu edged past Russian pair Alexandr Nikolaenko and Valeri Sorokina 21-18, 21-15, 21-15 in 49 minutes.
Compatriots Chen Hung-lin and Lin Yu-lang, an unseeded pair, also emerged as winners over 13th-seeded German duo Johannes Schoettler and Ingo Kindervater 21-19, 21-18, 21-16 after a match lasting 50 minutes.
Organized by the World Badminton Federation, the seven-day WBC runs through Sunday, with 400 of the world’s top players from five continents competing for the championship title.
First held in 1977 and originally a biennial event, the WBC has, since 2003, been held every year except Olympic years.
Meanwhile, Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia moved into the round-of-16 by beating Ville Lang of Finland 21-10, 21-11.
Lee, who is trying to become the first Malaysian to win a world badminton title, earned the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Next year’s Olympics will be played at Wembley.
“I feel quite confident, and it’s going well, but my most important opponent will still be my next one,” said Lee, who had to play through a draft in the arena.
Lee will next face ninth-seeded Park Sung-hwan, who ended Olympic champion Lin Dan’s world title defense last year in Paris and who overcame Shon Wan-ho 21-14, 21-10 on Wednesday to also advance.
Lin downed Scott Evans of Ireland 21-15, 21-16 and will play Lee Hyun-il of South Korea in a repeat of the 2008 Korean Open final that featured an on-court scuffle between the Chinese and his opponent’s coach.
Wong Zi Liang of Singapore upset 2005 champion Taufik Hidayat 21-17, 21-14, likely inflicting the Indonesian’s last worlds loss.
“I was well prepared and this is the best win of my career,” said Wong, who now plays Hans-Kristian Vittinghaus of Denmark.