Badminton legend Lin Dan saved seven match points before being dumped out of the first round of his home China Open on Wednesday, stunned by Indonesia’s world number 17 Jonatan Christi.
The 21-19, 21-16 defeat will ramp up speculation that the 34-year-old Lin, widely regarded as the best badminton player of all time, may soon call it quits as he approaches the end of his brilliant career.
Seeded third, Lin, a five-time China Open champion, was guilty of a catalog of errors in going down to Christie in 42 minutes in a shock upset in the Chinese city of Fuzhou.
The 20-year-old Christie plays Hong Kong’s Angus Ng in the second round.
“When we shook hands before the match I felt his hand was cold and I sensed he was nervous,” Christie, who lost to Lin in straight games at their last meeting in June, told the official BWF World Superseries website.
“I realised that even though he was a past World and Olympic champion, he could get nervous too, so that made me confident.”
Lee Chong Wei is back in business after back-to-back first round defeats in recent tournaments when the World No 7 reached the second round of the China Open in Fuzhou on Wednesday.
The seventh seed took only 26 minutes to record an effortless 21-5, 21-7 win over Taiwan’s Hsu Jen Hao. He plays Frenchman Brice Leverdez, who edged India’s Sourabh Verma 21-14 15-21 21-11, on Thursday.
Chong Wei will be gunning for revenge in his second round match as Leverdez had won their last encounter at the World Championships in August.
“Everything was good in the match. I just want to focus on each round and do well. Of course, today’s win will help me regain confidence for the upcoming matches,” said Chong Wei, who suffered first round losses in the Denmark Open and the French Open.
Chong Wei’s rival Lin Dan, the two-time Olympic champion, failed to win his opening match, losing 21-19, 21-16 to Indonesian Jonatan Christie in 42 minutes.—AFP