Kuala Lumpur [Malaysia], June 28 (ANI): The top women's singles seed Akane Yamaguchi crashed out of the opening round of the 2022 Malaysia Open on Tuesday while the men's Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen beat Brice Leverdez in straight games.
Viktor Axelsen overcame a slow start to dispatch his unseeded opponent. Next up for the world number one from Denmark is Lee Cheuk Yiu.
Yamaguchi Akane was far from her usual self as she suffered a shock exit in her opening encounter. The Japanese lost to Indonesia's Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 21-14, 21-14.
Indonesia's top male shuttlers Anthong Sinisuka Ginting and Jonatan Christie needed three games to advance.
Number six seed Ginting defeated India's Sai Praneeth 21-15, 19-21, 21-9 while his compatriot took care of India's Sameer Verma 21-14, 13-21, 21-7.
A big turnout on Day 1 of the first Malaysia Open in three years left the returning athletes purring and craving for more. Olympic champions Viktor Axelsen and Apriyani Rahayu, who both played at the last BWF World Tour event Axiata Arena hosted in 2020 - the Malaysia Masters - led the praises for the fans.
"It's amazing to be back in Kuala Lumpur with the Malaysian fans. Great, great support. I'm so thankful and I cannot wait to get back on court," said Axelsen after seeing off Brize Leverdez 22-20 21-7 in his opening match.
Rahayu, somewhat surprised by the attendance, said: "Bigger crowd than usual on a first day. Thank you for supporting all the players regardless of nationality. I can't stress enough how pleased I am to see so many fans."Her partner Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti added: "Even though most of them are Malaysians, they still supported us Indonesian players."Local star Lai Shevon Jemie admitted her "sadness" at progressing at the expense of training mates Tan Kian Meng and Lai Pei Jing but her mood quickly changed when the fans were mentioned during the post-match interview.
"We were extremely excited stepping onto the court," said the 28-year-old who won 21-18 19-21 21-18 alongside partner Goh Soon Huat. (ANI)