Lin Dan makes convincing comeback at badminton worlds
Updated: 2013-08-06 08:05
Lin Dan returns a ball to Sattawat Pongnairat of the United States during the the first round of the world championships in Guangzhou, Aug 5, 2013. [Photo/icpress.cn]
GUANGZHOU, China - Badminton superstar Lin Dan of China returned in style after a year on the sidelines, dominating the match from the start to register a straight victory in the first round of the world championships here on Monday.
The reigning world champion, although dropped to No 100 in the world rankings during his break and entered the tournament with a wild card, was too good for world No 58 Sattawat Pongnairat of the United States, winning 21-6, 21-9 in only 27 minutes.
Lin met little challenge from his opponent, but he still showed the passionate home crowd the delicate touches at the net, powerful smashes and athleticism around the court.
"I haven't played international games for more than half a year, so it's difficult for me to perform as good as before, but I will adjust myself and take every mach seriously and respect my opponent," said Lin.
Lin has decided to skip international events on the calendar after he became the first man to clinch back-to-back Olympic gold medals last August in London. This was only the fourth international game for "Super Dan" since then.
"I never know when my next title will come, but I hope I could train and compete as before. What matters most is the (player's) attitude," added Lin, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion.
Lin stays on course to meet arch rival Lee Chong Wei from Malaysia if both make it to the tournament final after being placed in opposite halves of the draw, as world No 1 Lee also beat his first round opponent Ireland's Scott Evans 21-11, 21-15.
Lee arrived in Guangzhou on Saturday and said that he still had to get adjusted to the conditions.
Lee was defeated by Lin in both finals of the 2011 world championships and the London Olympic Games. This time is considered his best or even the last chance to win world championships, a title the Malaysian never achieved.
The 30-year-old, who became a father in April to son Kingston, expressed his desire to the gold medal.
"There is only one champion and I hope I could be that one. That's my dream," he said.
The second seeded Chen Long from China blast past Austria's Luka Wraber 21-2, 21-5 and remains on course to meet Lin in the quarterfinals.
Another Chinese shuttler Du Pengyu, seeded the third, was made to sweat and taken an hour and 25 minutes to seal a 21-17, 16-21, 21-13 win over Shon Wan Ho of South Korea.