Unheralded Zulkifli upsets 6th seed Chou of Taiwan
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) Unheralded Zulfadli Zulkifli of Malaysia caused the first upset of the badminton world championships Monday after beating the sixth-seeded Tien Chen Chou of Taiwan in the opening round.
The 38th-ranked Zulkifli took 38 minutes to defeat Chou in straight sets, 21-5, 22-20.
Zulfadli absolutely dominated the first set and showed great determination in the second one when Chou fought hard as he attempted to level the tie. He brilliantly returned a number of smashes at match point before Chou missed a smash that stuck into the net.
''Tien Chen is indeed better than me but I was determined not to think about who my opponent was,'' Zulkifli said, adding that he just focused on his own play.
''I played as an underdog, but I tried to do my best,'' he said. ''Thank God, I could upset Tien Chen.''
Zulkifli will play Scott Evans of Ireland who beat Eetu Heino of Finland in three sets, 20-22, 21-9, 21-16.
In another upset Monday, Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, of Thailand, eliminated 16th seed Rajiv Ouseph of England, 21-16, 21-12.
Indonesia's top ranked player and 15th seed Tommy Sugiarto, advanced to the second round after seeing off Pablo Abian of Spain, 21-16, 21-13.
Three other top players who advanced to the second round were fourth seed Kento Momota of Japan who eliminated Dieter Domke of Germany, 10th seed Kashyap Parupalli of India and compatriot Prannoy Haseena Kumar, defeating Erik Meijs of Netherland and Alex Yuwan Tjong of Brazil, in straight sets, respectively.
Both the men's and women's defending singles champions Chen Long and Carolina Marin got first-round byes.
In another development, Indonesia granted Misha Zilberman, an Israeli player a visa to enter the country and compete in championships in Jakarta after a months-long standoff, Israel's national Olympic committee said Monday.