Frenchman stuns Malaysian star Chong Wei

France's Brice Leverdez celebrates his victory over Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei during their round one men's singles match during the 2017 BWF World Championships of badminton at Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 22 August 2017
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Frenchman stuns Malaysian star Chong Wei

GLASGOW: Badminton great Lee Chong Wei saved two match points against Brice Leverdez of France but not a third as he was upset in the first round of the world championships on Tuesday.
The Malaysian star fell 21-19, 22-24, 21-17, for the first time losing in the opening round in 10 worlds, and to a non-seed.
“I put more pressure on myself and I made a lot of mistakes,” Chong Wei said.
Runner-up at three worlds and both Olympics since 2011, Chong Wei put off retirement after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics to try and win an elusive world championship. He even lured back his old coach, Misbun Sidek, in July after a six-year separation to work on his mental side. Sidek guided him to No. 1 in the world for the first time in 2006.
But Chong Wei looked nervous and was outplayed at the net for much of the 75-minute match with Leverdez, against whom he had a 7-1 record.
Chong Wei led 19-18 in the first game but lost it with three consecutive unforced errors.
In the second, he came from 18-13 down to lead 20-18. Leverdez levelled, then had two match points and thought he won the second. But Chong Wei challenged the “out” call against him on the line at the umpire’s feet, and was saved by video replay which showed the shuttlecock was in by a millmeter.
Chong Wei had momentum in the third game, and won a rally including a shot between his legs from the baseline. But he could not shrug off the unfazed Leverdez, who went ahead on three unforced errors by Chong Wei and finished off the second seed with another smash at the net.
Leverdez said the difference was in his head.
“Usually I put pressure on myself, ‘You have to play well, you have to try your best,’ but I told myself, ‘Play your game, talk to yourself on court, and it will be fine.’ And it happened,” he said.
Results from the world badminton championships in Glasgow on Tuesday (x denotes seeded player):
Men’s singles 1st round:
Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (INA) bt Mateusz Dubowski (POL) 21-12 21-14
Brice Leverdez (FRA) bt Lee Chong Wei (MAS x2) 21-19 22-24 21-17
Ng Ka Long Angus (HKG x9) bt Maxime Moreels (BEL) 21-9 21-12
Sai Pranneth (IND x15) bt Wei Nan (HKG) 21-18 21-17
Marc Zwiebler (GER) bt Bjorn Seguin (USA) 21-10 21-15
Women’s singles 2nd round
Women’s singles
Chen Yufei (CHNx9) bt Pai Yu Po (TPE) 21-13 21-14


World Cup boost for Egypt as Mohamed Salah ‘is ready to play against Russia’

Updated 13 min 37 sec ago
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World Cup boost for Egypt as Mohamed Salah ‘is ready to play against Russia’

  • Liverpool star took part in full training
  • Egypt team manager says Salah is poised to make his World Cup bow

ST. PETERSBURG: Mohamed Salah is a looming obstacle as Russia attempt to virtually secure their place in the knockout stages of the World Cup in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
Fears that poor performances from the home side could dampen enthusiasm in the host nation were blown away by a 5-0 demolition of Saudi Arabia in the opening game.
The seven-time African champions will pose a much tougher task, but a lot will depend upon Salah's fitness.
Liverpool star Salah has not featured since leaving the field in tears early in the Champions League final just over three weeks ago after landing heavily on his left shoulder and had to watch from the bench as Egypt lost 1-0 to Uruguay in their opening game.
Salah has been declared 100 percent fit by Egypt's team doctor and his agent, leaving little doubt he will be thrown back into action in the Pharaohs' hour of need.
However, as he returned to training on Saturday, Salah was seen by AFP reporters at Egypt's training camp in Grozny needing help from teammates to lift a training top over his head.
"Salah participated in training with his teammates for the entire session and he is ready to play against Russia according to technical staff," Egypt's team manager Ihab Leheta told FIFA.com.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper's decision not to risk Salah against Uruguay may have been influenced by the fact his side held out for 89 minutes before conceding to Jose Gimenez, by which time the Argentine had made all three of his substitutions.
"Russia's game is fateful and difficult because of our defeat against Uruguay," said Leheta. "Winning is our only choice".
If fully fit, the sight of Salah, who scored 44 goals in a remarkable debut season at Liverpool, will strike fear into the Russians.
Concerns Russia could become just the second host nation to bow out of the World Cup at the group stage after a seven-game winless run ahead of the tournament have been alleviated by a perfect start.
With Uruguay favourites to top the group, though, Russia are keen not to have to rely on getting something from their final group game against the two-time former world champions.
"The second game will be our most important one in the group stage," said Russia's deputy prime minister and former football federation president Vitaly Mutko after attending Russia's training session on Sunday.
A close ally of President Vladimir Putin, Mutko oversaw preparations for the tournament at a cost of more than $13 billion.
"In the first match, everyone saw how much the players cared. If we play up to our level, I don't see any problems."
Denis Cheryshev was Russia's hero against Saudi Arabia as he came off the bench to score twice.
And the Villarreal winger accepted it will be a more "interesting" clash if Salah is fit.
"If he's not there, does that mean our task becomes easy? Not at all," he told FIFA.com "If he plays, it will be hard but more interesting. He's one of the best and you always want to compete with the best and win."
Russia will be without one of their key players, with Alan Dzagoev expected to miss the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury.