Five-time champion Lin Dan falls in the second round


  • Badminton
  • Wednesday, 21 Aug 2019

China's Lin Dan in action during his second round men's singles match against India's H.S. Prannoy. -Reuters

PETALING JAYA: The much-anticipated clash between Kento Momota and Lin Dan has failed to materialise.

This comes after the two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan fell to a 11-21, 21-13, 7-21 defeat to India’s H.S. Prannoy in Basel, Switzerland in the second round yesterday.

It ended the Chinese superstar’s hopes of securing his sixth world title in what could be his last world meet appearance.

Momota, the top seed and defending champion, had no problem cruising into the last 16 by making short work of unheralded Spaniard Luis Enrique Penalver with a 21-10, 21-7 win.

The world No. 17 Lin Dan has been struggling to impress since winning the Malaysian Open in April, making only two quarter-finals in his last seven starts prior to the world meet.

Lin Dan did not have the best of start in Basel either as it took him 78 minutes to tame fellow veteran Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam 16-21, 21-12, 21-12 in the first round on Monday.

But Lin Dan would have expected a tough match against Prannoy, as he had lost twice in their last four meetings, the latest at the Indonesian Open last year.

The road to the Tokyo Olympic Games can only get bumpier for him, unless he could turn things around over the next nine months.

A nation can enter a maximum of two singles players provided they are ranked in the top 16 at the end of the one-year qualification period.

As thing stands, compatriots Shi Yuqi (No. 3) and Rio Olympics gold medallist Chen Long (No. 5) look certain to claim the spots.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Loh Kean Yew continued to make his presence felt on the international stage.

Playing in his first world meet, the Malaysian-born 22-year-old proved he is no pushover by sending 10th seed Sameer Verma of India packing in the opening round on Monday.

He won 15-21, 21-15, 21-10 to set up a second-round encounter against Frenchman Thomas Rouxel today.

Kean Yew will be bidding to emulate compatriot Ronald Susilo who reached the quarter-finals in 2007 (Kuala Lumpur) which was the best-ever feat by a Singaporean in men’s singles.
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