India Open: Lee Cheuk Yiu beats defending champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn
NEW DELHI — Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu led the march of the underdogs in the second round of the India Open 2024 with a win over defending men’s singles champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.
Lee came from a game down to beat reigning world champion Kunlavut 16-21, 22-20, 23-21 in an hour and 22 minutes in the Super 750 meet being organised by Badminton Association of India.
The morning session also saw former world champion Akane Yamaguchi of Japan and All England champion Li Shi Feng of China biting the dust.
Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan defeated Yamaguchi 21-11, 21-19 while Japan’s Koke Watanabe upset third seed Feng 14-21, 21-13, 21-9.
But the star of the morning session was undoubtedly Lee Cheuk Yiu for the way he fought back against Kunlavut. The Hong Kong shuttler looked down and out when he trailed 6-12 in the second game after losing the first but he turned things around by winning six straight points to draw level at 12-12 and then went on to force a decider.
The third and final game followed a similar pattern with Kunlavut opening up a 16-9 lead. Lee then strung together 10 consecutive points and then earned two game points at 20-18. The Thai managed to save a total of three match points before the Hong Kong shuttler wrapped things up.
In other women’s singles matches, defending champion An-Se Young of South Korea had to fight hard for a 21-19, 14-21, 21-14 win over Beiwen Zhang of USA.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Tai Tzu-Ying of Chinese Taipei and two-time World Championships bronze medallist He Bing Jao of China also secured comfortable wins over their respective opponents.
Tai defeated Supanida Katethong 21-12, 21-11 while He Bing Jao packed off Pornpawee Chochuwong 21-6, 21-11.