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August 11, 2009

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Home » Sports » Badminton

Lin, Lee advance but Bao stumbles

TOP-SEEDED Lee Chong Wei and defending champion Lin Dan secured easy victories yesterday to advance to the second round of the world championships in India.

Top-ranked Lee of Malaysia overcame a slow start to prevail 21-14, 21-10 over Germany's Dieter Domke on the opening day, while China's Lin, seeking to become the first player to win three successive titles, defeated Misha Zilberman of Israel 21-9, 21-11.

Joining them in the second round was third-seeded Peter Gade of Denmark, a 21-11, 21-16 winner over Ukraine's Valerly Atrashchekov.

The tournament began under tight security in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad after England withdrew due to security concerns.

Lee took time to find his game against the 116th-ranked Domke.

"I was slow to settle down and made some unforced errors in the first game," said Lee, who expressed satisfaction with his form going into the championships. Lee is in the top half of the men's singles draw together with arch rival Lin, winner of the singles title at the 2006 and 2007 worlds and the 2008 Olympics.

Lin, who is seeded fifth because of his low ranking after missing several Super Series events, is regarded by many as favorite for the title but has tried to deflect the attention.

"I don't consider myself as a favorite for the title. I think Gade and top-seed Lee Chong Wei are the favorites," he said.

Gade, 32, the losing finalist in the 2001 world championships, said he felt comfortable throughout his match, even though his opponent played a brisk game. "The guy was fast, but I was always in control. It was a good way to start the tournament," he said.

Dutch player Dicky Palyama scored the first upset of the tournament by ousting 11th-seeded Bao Chun Lai of China 21-18, 21-14 in the opening round.

Sixth-seeded Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia advanced to the second round with a 21-13, 21-9 victory over Austria's Michael Lahnsteiner.

In the women's draw, No. 14 Wong Mew Choo of Malaysia took just 19 minutes to defeat American Shannon Pohl 21-4, 21-6.

Maria Kristin Yulianti of Indonesia, the 15th seed, outplayed Sweden's Sophia Hansson 21-6, 21-2 to reach the women's singles second round.

English officials and players meanwhile blamed what they said were inadequate security measures for their decision to pull out.

Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy said that the team was not given "appropriate levels of security" for the tournament.

"It wasn't a safe place for staff or players," England's Commonwealth Games champion Nathan Robertson said. "We were on back roads with no armed guards or anything - just a bus driver. It doesn't matter to me where it is in the world, we weren't safe in that situation. "It wasn't a difficult decision in my mind."


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