PETALING JAYA: Things just got worse for Lee Chong Wei in Europe.
The three-time Olympic silver medallist endured a terrible campaign at the Denmark Open last week – being beaten in the second round by India’s H.S. Prannoy.
The world No. 7 suffered a more embarrassing exit this time – in the first round of the French Open. The Malaysian crashed to a 14-21, 15-21 loss to Japan’s Kenta Nishimoto at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin in Paris yesterday.
The latest defeat is certainly a blow to Chong Wei, who hasn’t won a title since his All-England success in March.
It also remains to be seen if the Penangite will still be motivated at the tail-end of his career following these back-to-back early defeats.
Chong Wei wasn’t the only big name to fall in the first round, though.
South Korea’s world No. 2 Son Wan-ho, a semi-finalist at the Danish meet, was also sent packing after losing 16-21, 19-21 to Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.
There was however better fortunes for the newly-formed Malaysian men’s doubles pair of Goh V Shem-Teo Ee Yi.
The pair thumped world No. 31 Or Chin Chung-Tang Chun Man of Hong Kong 21-10, 21-15.
V Shem-Ee Yi will take on fifth seeds Liu Cheng-Zhang Nan of China in the second round.
World champions and Danish Open winners Liu Cheng-Zhang Nan outclassed Denmark’s Mathias Christiansen-David Daugaard 21-18, 21-16.
“We played well and were consistent. Hopefully we’ll keep this form going against the world champions,” said V Shem, who split with his Rio Olympics silver medal partner Tan Wee Kiong last month.
“We still need more matches to improve our chemistry, so to play the world champions will be a good test.”
In mixed doubles, eighth seeds Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing cleared the first hurdle by beating Thailand’s Nipitphon Puangpuapech-Jongkolphan Kititharakul 22-20, 21-13.
Denmark Open semi-finalists Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie, however, failed to keep their good run going after losing 16-21, 14-21 to South Korea’s Seo Seung-jae-Kim Ha-na.