Top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia strolled into the quarter-finals of the men`s singles at the badminton world championships on Thursday as women`s title-holder Ratchanok Intanon suffered a shock loss.
Lee, bidding for an elusive maiden world title after consecutive runner-up finishes, faced little resistance from third-round opponent Scott Evans of Ireland as he raced to a 21-11, 21-12 win.
"I just focussed on myself, taking things easy to prepare for tomorrow (Friday)," said the world number one, who will encounter Chinese sixth seed Wang Zhengming, a 21-15, 21-18 winner over Hong Kong`s Wei Nan, with a place in the last four at stake.
"Tomorrow will be tough. (Wang) has played very well so far, he`s an accomplished player but I will focus on myself
"I`m still not 100 percent but I hope tomorrow will be better," added Lee, referring to a persistent groin injury that sidelined him for two months prior to this tournament.
His path to the final was made easier following the retirement of Danish third seed Jan O Jorgensen, who was forced to pull out when trailing unseeded Chou Tien-chen of Taiwan 21-9, 9-4.
Jorgensen`s coach said the world number three had suffered a torn patella tendon in his right knee early in the match and attempts to patch up the home favourite proved unsuccessful.
"I`m very upset. I would prefer losing rather than not being able to play. Not being able to give a fight is worse," said a visibly distraught Jorgensen.
"My whole dream of winning, of playing, burst so fast because I knew it was not a small thing."
China`s Chen Long, seeded second, progressed 21-12, 21-10 over India`s K. Srikanth and will meet South Korean seventh seed Son Wan-ho, who knocked off Danish number two Hans-Kristian Vittinghus, in the last eight.
Indonesian fifth seed Tommy Sugiarto eased past Hong Kong`s Hu Yun 21-10, 21-11 while lone remaining Dane Viktor Axelsen, the 14th seed, and Dutchman Eric Pang also reached the quarters.There was a huge surprise in the women`s draw as defending champion Intanon crashed out in the third round after the 19-year-old succumbed to Japanese 16th seed Minatsu Mitani 8-21, 21-12, 21-18.
"She was quicker and faster in the second game. She made me nervous by defending my smashes so well. I was getting tired after long rallies," said Intanon, who explained that she had spent five days in hospital prior to the tournament with a temperature that peaked at 39.5 degrees Celsius (103.1 degrees Fahrenheit).
"I couldn`t play at 100 percent just four days after leaving hospital. I was only around 50 percent," said the 2013 champion.
Mitani`s reward is a quarter-final against Korean fifth seed Sung Ji-hyun.
China`s Wang Yihan, the 2011 champion, also suffered a stunning defeat as she was ruthlessly taken apart by Spanish ninth seed Carolina Marin 21-9, 21-12.
Earlier world number one Li Xuerui of China blasted away 12th-seeded compatriot Han Li 21-9, 21-17 to march into the last eight before calling out her upcoming opponent, India`s Saina Nehwal.
On Wednesday Saina called for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) to reduce the number of entrants per country at international tournaments to curb China`s dominance in the sport.
Top-ranked Li, one of four Chinese representatives in the women`s draw, responded by saying: "Let her beat me first...she still has to face (Chinese players) whether there`s two or three of us.
"Even if an opponent isn`t in the Chinese team of course she can still win. If she`s not strong enough then that`s her own problem."
Saina, bronze medallist at the London Olympics, overcame a patchy start to claw her way past Japanese 13th seed Sayaka Takahashi 14-21, 21-18, 21-12.
Chinese second seed Wang Shixian also advanced after thrashing Vietnam`s Vu Thi Trang 21-12, 21-7 while Taiwanese eighth seed Tai Tzu-ying ended the run of Canada`s Commonwealth champion Michelle Li.
India`s P.V. Sindhu, the 2013 bronze medallist, was involved in an enthralling contest as the 11th seed fended off three match points before coming through 19-21, 22-20, 25-23 against South Korean sixth seed Bae Yeon-ju.