Chen Long returns the shuttlecock during the men's singles first round match between Rasmus Gemke of Denmark and Chen Long of China at the All England Open Badminton Championships 2019 in Birmingham, Britain on March 6, 2019. Rasmus Gemke won 2-0. (Xinhua/Tang Shi)
BIRMINGHAM, Britain, March 6 (Xinhua) -- China's Lin Dan and Chen Long, who won a total of eight titles between them, both suffered shock first round defeat at the All England Open badminton championships here on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old Lin, also a twice Olympic champion in Athens and Beijing, lost to Japan's 22-year-old Kana Tsuneyama 21-19, 14-21, 7-21, while second seed Chen, the reigning Olympic gold winner, wasted a 14-9 lead in the second set before crashing out 21-15, 21-17.
Lin, who won the title here six times, and Chen, the 2013 and 2015 winner, had never been sent packing in the first round.
Nicknamed "Super Dan" by his fans, Lin's previous earliest exit in his 15 appearances came in 2003 when he was stopped in the round of 16. Chen, who competed eight times, were eliminated twice in the second round.
"I find it more and more difficult to focus my concentration late in the first round. After my concentration was interrupted, it will be difficult to fight back," said the two-time Olympic champion who is bidding to win a place in next year's Tokyo Olympics.
"Every player is fighting very hard to win more points because of the coming Olympics. I will play more tournaments for more ranking points," Lin added.
Defending champion Shi Yuqi, who upset Lin in last year's final, beat Denmark's Anders Antonsen 21-17, 21-16 in 45 minutes to reach the second round.
"I hope to win the championship again this year," Shi said. "There is certainly some pressure as the defending champion but I will turn the pressure into motivating strength."
"I feel more confident after the first match."
Third seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei also made a shock exit as he was beaten by China's Huang Yuxiang 21-14, 16-21, 24-22.
In the women's competition, third seed Chen Yufei breezed past Chinese teammate Han Yue 21-10, 21-14. Chen will be joined by teammates He Bingjiao, Li Xuerui and Chen Xiaoxin in the second round.
Women's top seed Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei, bidding for a third successive title, beat Michelle Li of Canada 21-12, 21-15 to sail into the second round.