LONDON: Chinese badminton superstar Lin Dan crashed out of the All England Open in the first round, losing to Japan’s Kanta Tsuneyama.
Lin, a six-time winner of the tournament who is now ranked 12th in the world, fell to a 19-21, 21-14, 21-7 defeat in Birmingham on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old, nicknamed “Super Dan”, said he struggled with his concentration.
“Every player is fighting very hard to win more points because of the coming Olympics,” he was quoted as saying by Chinese state news agency Xinhua. “I will play more tournaments for more ranking points.”
Tsuneyama, 22, who is ranked 17th, said his “physical ability” gave him the edge.
“This tournament is the greatest, so I really want to win as much as possible and I feel the atmosphere here is unique, so I want to proceed as far as I can – I feel very confident now,” he said.
In front of noisy support the Japanese player struggled against one of the greatest shuttlers ever in the first game but turned the tide after that.
Tsuneyama accelerated away midway through game two with five consecutive points and Lin never got close in the decider, with the younger player showing more energy.
Current Olympic champion and two-time All England champion Chen Long, the fourth seed, crashed out 21-15, 21-17 to Denmark’s Rasmus Gemke.