Lee Zii Jia needed to dig deep into his reserves before overcoming Chinese Taipei’s Wang Tzu Wei 12-21, 21-9, 21-18 in a 50-minute contest in the first round of the Denmark Open.
The Malaysian came into this contest hoping to reverse back-to-back defeats to Kento Momota and Anthony Ginting at the Thomas Cup last week, and faced an unpredictable opponent who sat just two spots below him on the world rankings.
Lee did not start well with many errors as Wang cruised to a 21-12 victory.
The All-England champion, however, upped the tempo in the second match and found himself completely in control to win 21-9.
It was in the decider that all of Lee’s resolve was tested, first having to claw his way from a five point deficit in the opening stages, then finding that cutting edge to pull away with the scores tied at 18-18.
Lee will go on to face either Hans-Kristian Vittinghus or Liew Daren in the second round.
Men’s doubles pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik followed Lee into the second round after a 21-17, 21-9 victory over Dutch duo Ruben Jille-Ties Van Der Lecq.
They will next face Japan’s Akira Koga-Taichi Saito for a place in the quarter-finals.
The new combination of Goh V Shem-Low Juan Shen bowed out after a 14-21, 18-21 loss to reigning Olympic champions Lee Yang-Wang Chi-li.
Goh-Low had combined their respective world rankings to make the main draw of this Super 1000 event, but they couldn’t have asked for a more challenging draw against the most in-form pair in the world this year.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment from the national contingent came from mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, who were beaten 17-21, 19-21 by Hong Kong pair Chang Tak Ching-Ng Wing Yun.
This event marked the pair’s first return to competitive action after exiting the Tokyo Olympics with a whimper by losing all their matches, and clearly they were far from their best with another limp loss.
Another Malaysian pair Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei put up more of a fight against Thai second seeds Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai before losing 16-21, 21-23.