Top seeds Fajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto crashed out at their first hurdle of the TotalEnergies BWF World Championships 2023, while defending champions Aaron Chia and Soh Wooi Yik had a wake-up call.
Alfian and Ardianto never got going against Lee Jhe-Huei/Yang Po-Hsuan, with the world No.21 Chinese Taipei pair getting the better of the top-ranked Indonesians 21-18 21-19 – their first win in five matches.
“We’d played one match already, while they were playing their first match, so we were more used to the conditions,” said Lee Jhe-Huei, whose partner Yang celebrated his 27th birthday today.
“We’d lost to them previously, but they were all close, so we believed we could pull it off today.”
Earlier, fourth seeds Chia/Soh, who had a bye in the first round, had to work their way back from an first-game deficit against Jeppe Bay/Lasse MØlhede, eventually hauling past them from 11-all in the decider.
The win means the third round will see a clash between the world champions and the Olympic champions as Chia/Soh run into Lee Yang/Wang Chi-Lin.
“It was good exposure for us to know what’s going on in the stadium, and what we need to do better. It wasn’t easy. We’ll have to do better tomorrow,” said Soh.
“We haven’t played them before, and they gave us a shock. We did come back in the third game, but there were nerves. We got our strategy working in the third game.”
“We’re not satisfied with our match because in the first game we weren’t on the mark, but we got our focus back,” added Chia.
Chia and Soh’s win wrapped up a mostly positive day for Malaysia, with seventh seeds Ong Yew Sin/Teo Ee Yi and Man Wei Chong/Tee Kai Wun also progressing to the third round in men’s doubles. Other Malaysian winners included Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan, Lee Zii Jia and Chen Tang Jie/Toh Ee Wei.
The Dane was satisfied with the way he’d handled the challenge.
“I was super calm, I got a good start, so I will try to keep working on that. I also showed that I’m able to win these close situations, so lot of positives to take from this match. I’ve never played him before, so I’m super happy to get the win in straight games.”