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Lin Dan advances to second round at All England Championships

Lin Dan struggled on his return Birmingham, March 5 (IANS): Five-time champion Lin Dan beat Wei Nan 21-14, 12-21, 21-16 to reach the last 16 of t ...

Lin Dan struggled on his return 

Birmingham, March 5 (IANS): Five-time champion Lin Dan beat Wei Nan 21-14, 12-21, 21-16 to reach the last 16 of the All England Open Badminton Championships here.

Playing his first match at the prestigious tournament in three years, the Chinese super star on Wednesday looked on track for a comfortable victory after the first game before dropping the second, raising concerns over his recurring knee injury, reports Xinhua.

The twice Olympic champion struggled in the third game but managed to hold off the challenge from the Hong Kong player.

Lin will next take on compatriot Tian Houwei, who beat Ajay Jayaram of India.

"I still feel rusty after playing irregularly on the world circuit since the London Olympics. As all the top players are here, so I seem a little bit out of form. I didn't play very well in the second game but this is All England Open and all the top players in the world are here, it is natural to hit your top form in the first round," said Lin.

World No.1 Chen Long, last year's runner-up, fought back from a game down to oust fellow Chinese Xue Song 12-21, 21-18, 21-9. The reigning World Champion next takes on Hsu Jen Hao of Chinese Taipei.

"I started really slow and wasn't in the best of form out there. I needed to play quick and attack more, play rally-to-rally and not think about the result," said Chen.

Women's Olympic champion Li Xuerui of China eased past Zhang Beiwen of the United States 21-13, 21-17 while current World Champion Carolina Marin from Spain defeated Ireland's Chloe Magee 21-14, 15-21, 21-11.

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