China’s world number one mixed doubles pair were given a scare in their opening match at the badminton world championships on Tuesday after dropping the first game in an intense clash.
Top-ranked Ma Jin and Xu Chen lost their opening game in Guangzhou 18-21 to unseeded Danish pair Mads Pieler Kolding and Kamilla Rytter Juhl, who found answers to their trademark nimble play and dynamite smashes.
Xu sent back scorching returns of up to 277 kmph, leaping in the air for his overhead shots, but the Danes held their nerve and withstood the onslaught.
The home crowd fell into a nervous hush as the Danish pair went up 10-6 in the second, but the Chinese duo pulled it back to take the game 21-17.
A frenetic third game saw Xu nailing acrobatic shots, including one behind his back, as the crowd roared him on. The Chinese number ones eventually took victory in just under an hour.
Beatriz Corrales of Spain and Tsz Ka Chan of Hong Kong have rallied for hard-fought wins in the first round of the women’s singles.
Corrales, who has risen to 40th in the world rankings from 86 last year, defeated Kristina Gavnholt of the Czech Republic 18-21, 21-15, 21-17 in 55 minutes.
Tsz Ka Chan also came from a set behind to beat Line Kjaersfeldt of Denmark 18-21, 21-8, 21-9.
Suspension for brawling Thais
The Badminton World Federation banned Thai shuttler Bodin Issara for two years while his former doubles partner Maneepong Jongjit was hit with a three-month suspension over a violent brawl.