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Hidayat makes focused start to championship defence

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Category: Badminton News Published: 19 September 2006
Written by BadmintonPlanet.com Hits: 750

By Simon Baskett

MADRID (Reuters) - World champion Taufik Hidayat made a determined start to the defence of his crown with an aggressive 21-17 21-17 win over joint ninth seed Ng Wei of Hong Kong on Tuesday.

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.

"I was very happy with my performance," Hidayat told reporters. "I want to try and retain my title and I will be looking to improve with each game. I feel fit and am carrying no injuries."

Tuesday's first-round match was 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.

IBF ACTION

The International Badminton Federation said it will discuss what action should be taken over the incident on Saturday.

Hidayat said he had apologised for his behaviour and would not let the meeting distract him from his matches this week.

"I just want to concentrate on my game and at the moment I don't know anything about the IBF," he added.

Earlier, joint fifth seed Chen Hong breezed into the second round of the world championship with a 21-11 21-9 victory over Pedro Yang of Guatemala.

The Chinese, a semi-finalist at the Thailand Open this year and winner of the China Open and the All England in 2005, put Yang under heavy pressure throughout, forcing him into a series of errors at the Palacio de Deportes.

Chen will meet Simon Maunoury in his next match after the Frenchman eased past Iran's Kaveh Mehrabi 21-17 21-7.

In the women's event, world number three Xie Xingfang, seeded joint third, begins her bid to retain the title against Kati Tolmoff in a first round match later on Tuesday.

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.

(source: IOL)

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