HONG KONG: World number one Chen Long beat Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana to reach the Hong Kong Open quarter-finals on Thursday and set up a potential rematch with rival Lee Chong Wei.
China’s Chen, who is gunning for his seventh major title of the year in the southern Chinese city, swept aside Boonsak 19-21, 21-8, 21-13 in the second round.
Chen dropped the first set but made quick work of the second and third to set up a chance for revenge against Malaysia’s Lee, who beat him in Sunday’s China Open final.
“Overall I am satisfied even though the first set took a moment to find my rhythm. Overall it was good,” said Chen.
Lee — fresh from back-to-back wins in China and France — faces Germany’s Marc Zwiebler later Thursday for his place in the last eight.
Lee, the former world number one who only returned to badminton in May after an eight-month doping ban, last met the German in the second round of the World Championships in Jakarta in August, taking three sets to beat him.
Also on court later Thursday is Lee’s long-running foe, two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan who needs to beat Hong Kong’s Ng Ka-Long — the home crowd’s last hope in the men’s singles competition — to progress.
China’s Tian Houwei went through when he beat defending champion Son Wan-Ho of South Korea 21-13, 21-17.
In the women’s competition, world number one Carolina Marinof Spain downed Japanese rising star Akane Yamaguchi 21-19, 21-8 to reach the last eight.
“She is a good player. It was a tough match. She always fights until the shuttle is on the floor. So that’s why the first set was very close,” Marin said of her teenage opponent, who is tipped as a strong prospect on the women’s circuit in coming years.