Nobody said things would come easy not even world number one and badminton world champion ace Wiktor Axelsen he found out in his 2023 season debut on Tuesday (January 10).
The Dane, who is also the Olympic men’s singles champion, lost the opening match of his first round Malaysia open he faced compatriot Rasmus Gemke who was 20 places below him and found himself in a tight second game at 14–13 for top seed Axelsen.
However, Axelsen kept his composure and retired in the second before dominating the deciding game, winning 17-21 21-14 21-12 in an hour and five minutes.
This means the first seed will advance to face home shuttle Liew Daren in the second round in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
Elsewhere in the men’s draw, fourth seed Chou Tien-chen of Chinese Taipei took 78 minutes to complete a tight 21-23, 24-22, 21-18 win over China’s Shi Yuqi.
Only two seeds fell on the first day in five categories. Fifth seed women’s singles He Bingjiao of China was a high-profile casualty as she took on Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung 11-21 17-21.
Meanwhile, in women’s doubles, the Malaysian crowd was disappointed as Stoeva’s sisters from Bulgaria, Gabriela and Stefani, defeated hosts Pearly Tan/Thinaah Muralitharan 21-19, 21-14.
First round matches will continue on Wednesday from 10:00 local time.