MADRID • World badminton champion Taufik Hidayat made a determined start to his title defence with an aggressive 21-17, 21-17 win over joint ninth seed Ng Wei of Hong Kong yesterday.
The Indonesian, unseeded in Madrid because of his inconsistent form this season, was pushed hard all the way by Ng but won thanks to a battery of powerful overhead smashes interspersed with some delicate drop shots. Women’s world champion Xie Xingfang also progressed into the second round with a 21-14, 21-14 win over Kati Tolmoff of Estonia, but the rangy Chinese admitted she found the conditions at the Palacio de Deportes hard to handle. Yesterday’s first-round match was Olympic champion Hidayat’s first appearance since he stormed out of the Hong Kong Open last month. In an unprecedented incident in top-class badminton, Hidayat walked out of his quarter-final showdown against arch-rival Lin Dan just three minutes into the match in protest over a changed line call. The International Badminton Federation said it would discuss what action should be taken over the incident on Saturday. Joint fifth seed Chen Hong breezed into the second round with a 21-11, 21-9 victory over Pedro Yang of Guatemala. Dicky Palyama of Netherlands, seeded to make the last 16, disposed of England’s Aamir Ghaffar 21-18, 21-14, while world number nine Muhamad Hafiz Hashim of Malaysia had few problems in claiming a 21-10 21-14 victory over Ireland’s Scott Evans. In the women’s event Danish ninth seed Tine Rasmussen notched up a convincing 21-12, 21-14 win over Cheng Shao-chieh of Tapei who won a bronze at last year’s world championship in Anaheim. In a nail-biting first round contest Austria’s Simone Prutsch managed to stave off a determined fightback from Finland’s Nina Weckstrom to win through 21-10, 19-21, 24-22.
Prutsch now faces world number five Pi Hongyang of France who swept to a 21-6 21-7 victory over Slovakia’s Eva Sladekova. South Korea’s Hwang Hye-youn saw off Julia Mann of England 21-10, 21-11 and will meet Scot Susan Hughes.