Badminton World Championships: Chou Tien Chen becomes first seeded casualty
Chou Tien Chen became the first seeded casualty of the badminton world championships in Indonesia on Monday, just weeks after staging a major upset of his own at the Taiwan Open.
Jakarta: Chou Tien Chen became the first seeded casualty of the badminton world championships in Indonesia on Monday, just weeks after staging a major upset of his own at the Taiwan Open.
The Taiwanese sixth seed was crushed in the opening round of badminton`s most prestigious event in less than 40 minutes by unseeded Malaysian shuttler Zulfadli Zulkiffli 21-5, 22-20.
His shock exit comes less than a month after Chou dismissed world number two Jan O. Jorgensen at the Taiwan Open before prevailing over five-time world champion Lin Dan in a marathon contest to book a spot in the finals.
Chou was forced to settle for silver against Chen Long but walked away having won a set against the world number one -- a career first.
None of that impressive form was on display in Jakarta as Zulkiffli, a former world junior champion 30 rankings behind his Taiwanese opponent, demolished Chou in the first set.
Zulkiffli, 22, had not been expected to survive his opening match and approached his formidable opponent with low expectations.
"I just played as an underdog, to gain experience," he told reporters after his stunning upset.
"The pressure was on him (Chou). I just played my normal game."
The Malaysian will now play Ireland`s Scott Evans, who defeated Finnish shuttler Eetu Heino earlier Monday, in his second-round match.
Home favourite Tommy Sugiarto earlier cruised into the second round of the world championships with a two-set victory over European Games victor Pablo Abian as the tournament got under way in Jakarta.
Sugiarto, Indonesia`s top medal hopeful, defeated the Spaniard 21-16, 21-13 and will now face unseeded Hong Kong shuttler Wei Nan.
The 15th seed looked a little unsteady in the first set, with Abian taking an early lead and threatening to upstage the Indonesian champion before a rowdy home crowd.
But Sugiarto recovered with a string of quick points to claim the first set, before overpowering the visitor in routine fashion in the second.
"I rushed to attack early on, and did not relax," he told a post-match press conference.
"I tried to get the confidence back to reverse the situation."
Abian said he started well but could not maintain the form that had helped him defeat Sugiarto at the 2011 Spanish Open.
"It was a difficult match, it was very tough," he said.
Hong Kong`s Wei Nan had to fight hard to secure his second-round showdown against Sugiarto, only just prevailing over American Howard Shu in a three-set cliffhanger that ended 21-19, 24-26, 21-18.
Elsewhere 10th-seeded Indian shuttler Parupalli Kashyap made light work of Holland`s Erik Meijs, while fellow countryman and 11th seed H.S. Prannoy trounced Brazil`s Alex Yuwan Tjong.
Fourth seed Kento Momota missed out on an opening-round bye and will square off against Germany`s Dieter Domke later Monday.
Bigger names, including China`s Lin Dan and Malaysia`s Lee Chong Wei, are due to play their opening matches on Tuesday.