Source: China State Council Information Office
Two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan, fighting for the hope of his fifth Olympic appearance, edged an opponent half his age 13-21, 22-20 and 21-10 in the opening round at the All England Open Badminton Championships in Birmingham on Mar. 11.
Lin, 36, was drawn to play against Thai hopeful Kunlavut Vitidsarn in the men’s singles first round. The 18-year-old Vitidsarn has shown his potential by clinching three junior world champion titles in a row and gave the Chinese veteran a scare by winning the opening game 21-13.
But the six-time All England champion Lin managed to fight back with his experience and unpredictable smashes, setting up a second round encounter with compatriot Chen Long.
The reigning Olympic champion Chen ousted Indian Skrikanth Kidambi 21-15 and 21-16.
“The opponent has played against me many times. We are familiar. I won today because I had better luck,” said the 31-year-old third seed.
The men’s singles top seed Chou Tien Chen from Chinese Taipei beat Mark Caljouw of Netherlands 21-19, 21-17. Denmark’s second seed Viktor Axelsen ousted Thai player Sitthikom Thammasin 21-15, 21-13.
In the women’s singles, defending champion Chen Yufei overcame a slow start to see off South Korea’s world No.9 An Se Young 14-21, 21-14 and 21-15.
“A win here would definitely be great for the people of China,” said the 22-year-old world No.1. “I’m a little bit worried about my family and friends in China, but I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for the game here.”
The second seed Tai Tzu Ying from Chinese Taipei and the third seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan both reached the last 16.
Reigning Olympic Champion Carolina Marin will meet Chinese teenager Wang Zhiyi in the second round, after beating another Chinese player Zhang Yiman.