Lee Chong Wei blows what may be last chance at badminton world title as Hong Kong’s Angus Ng wins
Frenchman Brice Leverdez stuns Malaysian legend in first round of world championships in Glasgow
Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei has admitted he may finally give up on his elusive search for badminton’s world title after blowing another chance in a stunning first-round upset in Glasgow.
France’s Brice Leverdez pulled off a major shock at the badminton world championships by defeating second seed Lee 21-19, 22-24, 21-17 on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka-long moved into the second round with a 21-12, 21-9 victory over Maxime Moreels in 29 minutes.
The 31-year-old Leverdez claimed the biggest scalp of his career in 75 minutes against Malaysian legend Lee, who has fallen at the final hurdle and settled for silver threes time at the worlds as well as the Olympics.
He wiped Leverdez off court in just 35 minutes at the All-England Open, but after this shock he admits his future is uncertain.
“I’m very disappointed. I don’t know my plans, maybe I’ll retire tomorrow,” he said with a smile. “I have to find out if I still have the fire to go on.
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Leverdez had two match points in the second game – 20-21 and 21-22 – and it was only a successful hawk eye challenge on the second match point that saved Lee from a straight games exit.
In the decider, the 34-year-old Malaysian led 15-10 – but the Frenchman wouldn’t give in.
“I tried my best and he got lucky on a few points,” said Lee, whose fourth win in the All-England Open this year suggested he was still capable of ending his world title drought.
China’s Chen Long, the defending champion and Olympic gold medallist, had no such problem. In one of the quickest first-round matches, he swept aside Georges Julien Paul, from Mauritius, 21-7, 21-9.
Japan’s top seeded Akane Yamaguchi also had an easy passage into the women’s last 16 as she ousted Denmark’s Line Hojmark Kjaersfeldt 21-13, 21-11 in just 28 minutes.
“I am very satisfied with my performance,” said the world number two.
“I never think about being the top seed too much. I am still young and just try my best to take care of everything and take it match by match.”
The seed to survive a big scare was China’s Tian Houwei. In the deciding game, he trailed 12-16 to Denmark’s Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus.
But the left-handed number 10 seed then reeled off nine points in a row to win 21-14, 17-21, 21-16.