Badminton: Chen breezes into 3rd round, Lin struggles

JAKARTA - World No. 1 Chen Long's bid to defend his world crown got off to a strong start yesterday, with the Chinese star dismissing Estonia's 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.

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

However, Chen, who has already won four titles this season, was not getting ahead of himself and stressed that he would take one match at a time.

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

Five-time world champion Lin Dan marched onwards in his campaign for a sixth crown, brushing aside 75th-ranked Daniel Paiola 21-14, 21-14.

But the fifth seed and two-time Olympic champion was surprised at the resistance he encountered playing the unseeded Brazilian, suggesting he was feeling his age.

"My physical condition is not like it used to be," the 31-year-old said. "I did not think my opponent would be so difficult. He played better than I imagined."

Unseeded Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh overpowered 10th-seeded Indian Parupalli Kashyap 17-21, 21-13, 21-18.

Indian 11th seed H. S. Prannoy was in the last 16 with a routine victory over Uganda's Edwin Ekiring 21-14, 21-19.

He will face Axelsen today ,after the Dane cleaned up Poland's Adrian Dziolko 21-13, 21-15.