Super Dan hardly makes bright start
The bright lights of the Hong Kong Coliseum caught reigning Olympic and world champion Lin Dan by surprise yesterday as he struggled through his first match at the US$250,000 Sunrise-Yonex Hong Kong Open.
Lin, the third seed, took more than an hour to overcome his unseeded Indian opponent, Parupalli Kashyap, 16-21, 21-17, 21-14.
Afterwards, Lin questioned the lighting in the Hung Hom venue, being used for the first time because the Super Series event demands a larger arena than Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai.
'He [Parupalli] played very well but this is my first match in this tournament and it takes time to adapt to a new environment,' Lin said. 'The court lighting is also too strong and made it difficult.
'This is the first time they are staging the tournament here, and I think they need to adjust it.'
Chow Yat-kwong, honorary secretary of the Hong Kong Badminton Association, said they had already adjusted the lighting, after receiving feedback from players during practice. 'We borrowed the whole set of court lights from the Guangzhou Asian Games organisers, and the lighting here has been reduced to 1,500-1,800 lux, compared to 2,200 lux at the Guangzhou Games,' he said.
'We will continue to listen to the players and discuss with the chief referee about any further adjustments. But the players are professionals and they can adjust to the lighting after playing more games.'
World number one Lee Cheong Wei of Malaysia had no problems in his opening match, scoring a comfortable 2-0 (21-13, 21-15) win over Pablo Abian of Spain.
Lin and Lee are due to clash in the semi-finals if the form book holds.
In the women's singles, Wang Yihan of China, the top seed and reigning world champion, scored an effortless 2-0 (21-9, 21-6) win over Joycelyn Ko of Canada; and fellow national team member Wang Xin, a semi-finalist last year, defeated Sung Ji-hyun of South Korea, 21-12, 21-9.
In the women's doubles, top seeds Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli hardly broke sweat in a 21-13, 21-8 win over Spanish duo Sandra Marinello and Birgit Michels.
Next year, Yu will bid for her second Olympic gold medal after her success with Du Jing in Beijing.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hu Yun came close to pulling off an upset against fifth seed Chen Jin of China in the men's singles.
The unseeded local player was leading 17-15 after taking the first game 21-15, but lacked the momentum to finish off the mainlander. Chen, champion of the Singapore Super Series, levelled the score to 1-1 with a 22-10 win in the second game and went on to win 21-10 in the rubber for a hard earned 2-1 victory.