Sports

Lee reveals quit thoughts

World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei admitted that he had come within a hair's breadth of quitting the last All-England Open of his career before surviving a first-round test yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The three-time former champion beat Frenchman Brice Leverdez 21-15, 21-12, but knows he may have to finish the tournament without being at his best.

Lee played with heavy strapping over the knee he injured during training a month ago and had little idea how or even whether he would be able to perform in Birmingham.

"I just know it is not 100 per cent," the 34-year-old said. "I was so very close to pulling out.

"But this is the All-England and I said I will play.

"I'm just going on court and trying to forget my injury and do my best.

"I didn't play well, but at least I think I tried to play every shot."

Lee was a little fortunate that Leverdez, who beat him in the Danish Open last October and led 14-11 yesterday morning, relinquished his lead with a series of mistakes.

Lee's All-England campaign continued with a 21-18, 21-18 win over Taiwan's Wang Tzu-wei last night.

Olympic champion Chen Long, a potential semi-final obstacle for Lee, has competed little since his Rio triumph, but showed no ring rust in his 21-17, 21-7 win over German Marc Zwiebler yesterday morning.

Fifth-seeded Chen is aided by the departure from his quarter of the draw of fourth-seeded Son Wan Ho with an ankle injury.

Six-time champion and former world No. 1 Lin Dan beat Malaysia's Zulfadli Zulkiffli 21-11, 21-12.

Meanwhile, Singapore's remaining hopes all crashed out of the tournament.

Women's singles player Liang Xiaoyu lost 21-16, 21-12 to seventh seed Akane Yamaguchi of Japan, while mixed doubles pair of Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han fell 21-9, 21-18 to English duo Chris and Gabrielle Adcock.

- WIRE SERVICES

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