World Badminton Championships 2017: Lee Chong Wei shocked in first round by French shuttler
The Emirates Arena in Glasgow, Scotland which is hosting the BWF World Championships 2017 was left reeling under a major shock as one of the biggest tournament favourites bowed out in the first round. Former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei’s dream to capture the elusive world title remains a dream now after the second seed was knocked out 21-19, 22-24, 21-17 by Brice Leverdez of France.
The World No. 31, an experienced campaigner on the BWF Tour, needed 1 hour 15 minutes to complete the upset win over the legendary Malaysian.
This was just the second win for the Frenchman over Lee in nine career showdowns. His sole win over Lee Chong Wei prior to this came at the Denmark Open in 2016 where he toppled the top seed in three gruelling games.
This was possibly Lee’s last chance
The 34-year-old icon has been a three-time runner-up at the World Championships - in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
This was one of the two premier titles that had remained out of reach for the Malaysian with the other being the Olympic gold. And today’s defeat probably erases whatever little hope the reigning All England Champion had of conquering the world title for the first time for this could very well be the legend’s last outing at this event.
Lee did bring forth his trademark fighting spirit as he saved a couple of match points in the tight second game. A Hawkeye challenge that went in his favour at 21-22 in the second game managed to avert his straight-games exit from the championships.
That near escape from the clutches of disaster bolstered his confidence and he even led 15-10 in the third game. However, he failed to stave off a surging Leverdez in the closing stages of the match as the 31-year-old Frenchman came roaring back to book his berth in the second round, leaving the packed arena shell-shocked.
The three-time Olympic silver medallist was naturally disappointed after the loss.
“I tried my best and he got lucky on a few points. I’m very disappointed,” the crestfallen star shuttler said after his match. He later apologized to his legion of fans on Twitter as well.