The favourites march on in Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan
Defending champion Lee Chong Wei is fast turning out to be the most sought after player in the on-going 2017 Wuhan - City of Automobile Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan as the Malaysian marched into the quarter-finals.
He is virtually "ambushed" everywhere by his fans and supporters alike with hordes of them waiting outside the Wuhan Sports Center - the venue of the Asia Championships since the tournament got underway on Tuesday.
After his second round 22-20, 21-12 win over Japanese qualifier Kenta Nishimoto for a place in Friday's quarter-finals against Taiwan's Hsu Jen-hao, the Malaysian made five "pit stops" at the mixed zone to give interviews to the local media.
Along the way he signed autographs for his fans, including officials and volunteers on duty. He took all in his stride after clearing another Japanese hurdle in his quest to win his third Asia title against a field that includes four-time champion and home favourites Lin Dan and Chen Long.
Chong Wei won the titles in 2006 and 2016 while Lin Dan won his in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2015.
Lin Dan too kept up his challenge. The fourth seeded Lin Dan crushed another Japanese Kenta Tsuneyama 21-17, 21-15 in 51 minutes to advance to the quarter-finals where he will play Taiwan's sseventh seeded Chou Tien Chen - 21-16, 17-21, 21-13 winner over Indonesian Ihsan Maulana Mustofa.
Chong Wei and Lin Dan are strongly tipped to play in the semi-finals on Saturday - which will be their second meeting this month after the Chinese ace defeated Chong Wei for his first Malaysia Open title.
"This is the first time I played Kenta and did not know his style of play. But once I got into the rhythm it was much easier in the second set," said Chong Wei.
Second seed Chen Long outplayed Japan's Takuma Ueda 21-11, 21-14 in 50 minutes. His next match is against Hong Kong's No 8 seed Angus Ng Ka Long who ended Malaysian independent player Chong Wei Feng with a 21-18, 21-9 win.
Third seeded Son Wan-ho of Korea was in superb form in his match against Thailand's Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk and won easily 21-7, 21-10. For a place in the semi-finals Wan-ho will face China's Shi Yuqi who ripped through a 21-10, 21-7 win over another Thai Khosit Phetpradab.
In the men's doubles second seeds and former world No 1 Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong suffered another embarassing exit when they were by homesters Huang Kaixaing-Wang Yilyu 21-19, 21-16.
There was more cheer for China when No 3 seeds Chai Biao-Hong Wei advanced after a three set battle against Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan-Rian Agung Saputro 21-17, 19-21, 21-19 in 53 minutes.
Meanwhile, World No 1 and top see Tai Tzu Ying of Taiwan needed only 26 minutes to outplay Vietnam's Vu Thi Trang 21-10, 21-14 and will meet China's reigning world junior champion Chen Yufei who came back from a set down for a 19-21, 21-10, 21-9 win over Japan's Sayaka Sato after 69 minutes.
SECOND ROUND RESULTS (SELECTED)
Lee Chong Wei (Mas) beat Kenta Nishimoto (Jpn) 22-20, 21-12
Hsu Jen-hao (Tpe) beat Ajay Jayaram (Ind) 21-19, 21-10
Lin Dan (Chn) beat Kenta Tsuneyama (Jpn) 21-17, 21-15
Chou Tien Chen (Tpe) beat Ihsan Maulana Mustofa (Ina) 21-16, 17-21, 21-13
Son Wan-ho (Kor) beat Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk (Tha) 21-7, 21-10
Shi Yuqi (Chn) beat Khosit Phetpradab (Tha) 21-10, 21-7
Angus Ng Ka Long (Hkg) beat Chong Wei Feng (Mas) 21-18, 21-9
Chen Long (Chn) beat Takuma Ueda (Jpn) 21-11, 21-14
Li Junhui-Liu Yuchen (Chn) beat Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (Mas) 13-21, 21-17, 21-15
Chen Hung-ling-Wang Chi-lin (Tpe) beat Hiroyuki Endo-Yuta Watanabe (Jpn) 21-9, 21-17
Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda (Jpn) beat Fajar Alfian-Muhammad Rian Adrianto (Ina) 21-17, 21-18
Fu Haifeng-Zhang Nan (Chn) beat Lu Ching Yao-Yang Po Han (Tpe) 21-13, 21-19
Huang Kaixiang-Wang Yilyu (Chn) beat Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas) 21-19, 21-16
Kittinupong Kedren-Dechapol Puavaranukroh (Tha) beat Takuto Inoue-Yuki Kaneko (Jpn) 21-19, 18-21, 30-28
Chai Biao-Hong Wei (Chn) beat Mohammad Ahsan-Rian Agung Saputro (Ina) 21-17, 19-21, 21-19
Takuro Hoki-Yugo Kobayashi (Jpn) beat R. Karanda Suwardi-Angga Pratama (Ina) 21-15, 21-15
Huang Kaixaing-Wang Yilyu (Chn) beat Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (Mas) 21-19, 21-16
Tai Tzu Ying (Tpe) beat Vu Thi Trang (Vie) 21-10, 21-14
Chen Yufei (Chn) beat Sayaka Sato (Jpn) 19-21, 21-10, 21-9
Nitchaon Jindapol (Tha) beat Sung Ji-hyun (Kor) 21-16, 21-18
He Bingjiao (Chn) beat Pornpawee Chochuwong (Tha) 21-13, 21-16
P.V. Sindhu (Ind) Aya Ohori (Jpn) 21-14, 21-15
Ratchanok Intanon (Tha) beat Soniia Cheah (Mas) 21-18, 21-7
Akane Yamaguchi (Jpn) beat Hsu Ya Ching (Tpe) 21-18, 22-20
Luo Ying-Luo Yu (Chn) beat Ng Wing Yung-Yuen Sin Ying (Hkg) 22-20, 21-12
Huang Dongping-Li Yinhui (Chn) beat Cheng Yu Chieh-Hu Ling Fang (Tpe) 21-11, 21-18
Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei (Mas) beat Huang Yaqiong-Tang Jinhua (Chn) 16-21, 21-143, 21-16
Misaki Matsutomo-Ayaka Takahashi (Jpn) beat Chae Yoon-jung-Kim So-yeong (Kor)) 21-14, 21-15
Chang Ye-na-Lee So-hee (Kor) beat Shiho Tanaka-Koharu Yonemoto (Jpn) 21-16, 21-18
Zheng Siwei-Chen Qingchen (Chn) Tang Chun Man-Tse Ying Suet (Tpe) 21-19, 21-15
Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping (Chn) beat Lin Chia Yu-Wu Ti Jung (Tpe) 21-18, 21-13
Praveen Jordan-Debby Susanto (Ina) beat Choi Solgyu-Chae Yoo-jung (Kor) 21-12, 21-13
Lu Kai-Huang Yaqiong (Chn) beat Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Crystal Wong (Sgp) 21-10, 21-10
Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing (Mas) beat Kenta Kazuno-Ayane Kurihara (Jpn) 21-11, 21-8
Reginald Lee Chun Hei-Chau Hoi Wah (Hkg) beat Lee Yang-Hsu Ya Ching Tpe) 21-16, 21-19