Top seeds Chou Tien-chen and Anders Antonsen both lived up to the billing at the Denmark Open with comfortable opening round victories in straight sets to book their places in the men's singles second round.
Second seed Chou brushed aside Denmark’s Victor Svenden 21-16, 21-11 to set-up a second-round encounter against Irishman Nhat Nguyen.
The world number two was adamant on making the trip to Denmark despite the Chinese Taipei national team withdrawing from the Thomas & Uber Cup, which was also to be staged in the Scandinavian nation.
“I thought it was important to play here. Next year is the Olympics, and I wanted to play at a high level. During the last few months we tried other things, like soccer and running, and also we had national competition to maintain our level,” said the All-England runner-up.
Interestingly, Chou has not lost in the opening round of this tournament since 2014 when he last fell to Lin Dan.
Antonsen was equally ruthless against India’s Ajay Jayaram to win 21-12, 21-14 to book a clash against Frenchman Thomas Rouxel.
K. Srikanth, a dark horse to clinch the title having done so in 2017, cleared his first round hurdle against Toby Penty 21-12, 21-18 and will next face Canada’s Jason Anthony.
In the women’s singles, Nozumi Okuhara had no issues against Kristy Gilmour to brush the Scot aside 21-7, 21-19.
The 2017 world champion will next take on Wales’ Jordan Hart.
Fourth seed Canadian Michelle Li also won, beating homester Amalie Schulz 21-18, 21-13 to face Germany’s Fabienne Deprez next.
Russian dynamic duo Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov easily overcame Rory Easton-Ethan Van Leeuwen 21-14, 21-10 in the men’s doubles. They will next play Irish duo Joshua Magee-Paul Reynolds.
This tournament presents the European pair with a great chance to go all the way, especially without the participation of top Asian combinations like Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda and Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi who pulled out at the last minute.
Marcus Ellis-Lauren Smith will also fancy their chances in the mixed doubles.
The pair easily won their opening match, and are on course for a final showdown against teammates and husband-wife pairing of Chris-Gabrielle Adcock.