Badminton: Chen begins world title defence with ease

Badminton: Chen begins world title defence with ease
PHOTO: AFP

JAKARTA - World number one Chen Long's bid to defend his world crown got off to a strong start Wednesday with the Chinese star dismissing Estonia' Raul Must in Jakarta.

Top seed Chen, who was given an opening-round bye, defeated unseeded Must 21-15, 21-7, to breeze into the third round of the tournament.

Chen is expected to encounter little trouble until the quarter-finals, where he will likely face seventh-seeded Dane Viktor Axelsen.

Chen, who has already won four titles this season, wasn't getting ahead of himself, however, and stressed he would take one match at a time.

"Today there are many good players," the 26-year-old told reporters.

"They could all win. I will be focusing on playing well in each round." It seems a wise approach from the defending champion, who has faltered early in other tournaments this year against lesser-ranked opponents.

Men's 11th seed H.S. Prannoy of India also took his place in the last 16 with a routine victory over Uganda's Edwin Ekiring 21-14, 21-19.

He will face Axelsen on Thursday after the Dane cleaned up Polish shuttler Adrian Dziolko 21-13, 21-15.

The former junior world champion knew the moment he saw the draw that a third-round clash against Prannoy would be a tough prospect.

"He's a tricky player," he said. "I beat him in India earlier this year, so hopefully I can play well tomorrow." Five-time world champion Lin Dan, world number two Jan O. Jorgensen, Malaysian superstar Lee Chong Wei, Japanese young gun Kento Momota and women's second seed Saina Nehwal all have their second round matches later on Wednesday.

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