Lin, Lee win openers at All England Championship

China's Lin Dan and Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei eased through their opening matches at the All England Open but women's third seed Ratchanok Intanon crashed out.

Four-time champion Lee Chong Wei, Lin's great rival, beat Brazil's Ygor Coelho 21-15, 21-17. Lee is the top seed following the withdrawal of Viktor Axelsen.   -  AFP

China's Lin Dan and Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei eased through their opening matches at the All England Open but women's third seed Ratchanok Intanon crashed out.

Two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan talked up how much the tournament meant to him after beating Denmark's Hans-Kristian Solberg Vittinghus 21-19, 21-16 on the opening day in Birmingham on Wednesday.

“I think this year there is a higher pace on the court so both of us had to spend a lot of time to get used to it,” said the Chinese sixth seed, who has won the tournament six times.

“But after that I think both of us found our own rhythm to stay in the match.

“I think the All England means more to me than the world championships and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week.”

Four-time champion Lee, Lin's great rival, beat Brazil's Ygor Coelho 21-15, 21-17. Lee is the top seed following the withdrawal of Viktor Axelsen.

“I think he (Leverdez) definitely played really well and I was down match point in the third set and I would say I'm really lucky to pull this off,” said the 25-year-old Indian.

In the women's draw, Canada's Michelle Li found her best form to shock 2017 runner-up Intanon, of Thailand, 21-15, 14-21, 21-19 in 66 minutes.

“I feel pretty good and I feel like I played pretty well today,” said the world number 16. “I was able to keep my nerves in control this time so I'm very happy.

“I played Ratchanok many times last year and I've never won a game off her so I think I was well prepared and I was just very focused and tried not to rush -- I think that really helped.”

Women's top seed Tai Tzu-ying, from Taiwan, was tested by India's Saina Nehwal but came out on top 21-14, 21-18 in an entertaining match.