Viktor Axelsen and Lee Zii Jia book Thailand Open second round spots as Momota Kento falters

Top-ranked singles players Viktor Axelsen and Yamaguchi Akane are both through to the second round at the BWF World Tour Super 500 Thailand Open event in Bangkok. Joining them are Lee Zii Jia and P.V. Sindhu, but men's second seed Momota Kento falls at the first hurdle.

By ZK Goh

The men's and women's singles world numbers one, Viktor Axelsen and Yamaguchi Akane, have each booked their spot in the second round of the badminton Super 500 Thailand Open in Bangkok after wins on Wendesday (18 May) in the first round. However, there was a surprise elimination for men's world number two Momota Kento.

Denmark's Axelsen took 46 minutes to see off Heo Kwanghee of Korea, 21-19, 21-13, in a repeat of their quarter-final clash in the Thomas Cup just six days ago which was also won by the Danish Olympic champion.

That sets him up for a second-round match against Japan's Naraoka Kodai, who stunned Axelsen's counterpart Rasmus Gemke.

Also through to the second round after a brief scare is Malaysia's Asian champion Lee Zii Jia.

Facing Azerbaijan's Indonesian-born Ade Resky Dwicahyo, Lee was pushed to the brink in the first game before completing a straight-games 21-19, 21-9 victory.

Meanwhile, Yamaguchi – coming off the back of an Uber Cup campaign which ended in defeat for her Japanese team in the semi-finals – beat a Thai home shuttler, Busanan Ongbamrungphan, in straight games.

The Japanese won 21-15, 21-14 in 37 minutes.

Korea's Kim GaEun awaits Yamaguchi in the second round.

However, Yamaguchi's compatriot Momota continued a dreadful run of form as he was eliminated meekly by China's Zhao Junpeng, 8-21, 11-21.

The men's second seed capitulated in just 29 minutes.

There were also wins for the women's top seed and world number two Tai Tzu-ying, and women's third seed Chen Yufei of China. India's hopes rest on P.V. Sindhu, who scraped into the second round, needing nearly an hour to see off USA's Lauren Lam 21-19, 19-21, 21-18.

In the men's singles, fourth seed Chou Tien-chen booked his spot through to the last 16, as did new Thomas Cup champion with India Kidambi Srikanth.


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