Lee hits top form as Chen, Lin win

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 Wang Yihan hits a return against Vu Thi Trang of Vietnam during their second-round match at the world championships in Jakarta yesterday. The 6th-seeded Chinese won 21-18, 17-21, 21-12.

Lee Chong Wei claimed his first proper scalp at the world championships in Jakarta yesterday, defeating 12th seed Marc Zwiebler so convincingly the German declared his Malaysian opponent ready to win his first world crown.

Lee, who has settled for silver at the last three world championships, blew away Zwiebler 21-14, 17-21, 21-8 to book a spot in the third round.

Lee only returned to the badminton circuit in May after being slapped with a ban for doping, and enters the world championships unseeded for the first time in years.

But his clinical dismissal of Zwiebler, capped off with a string of unanswered smashes in the third game, has the Malaysian looking top of his game and hungry for his first crown.

Zwiebler, who is close friends with Lee, said the Malaysian had clearly returned to former glory during his eight-month hiatus and was the "best player" in the field to take on Chinese favorites Chen Long and Lin Dan.

"He is an almost perfect player. He doesn't have a weak spot," Zwiebler said. "If he is ready to put away the pressure, and focus on his strengths, then definitely he can be champion."

World No. 1 Chen's bid to defend his world crown got off to a strong start, as he dismissed Estonia's Raul Must 21-15, 21-7.

The top seed is expected to encounter little trouble until the quarterfinals, where he will likely face seventh-seeded Dane Viktor Axelsen.

Five-time world champion Lin brushed aside 75th-ranked Daniel Paiola 21-14, 21-14.

But the fifth seed and two-time Olympic champion was surprised at the resistance he encountered playing the unseeded Brazilian, suggesting he was feeling his age. "My physical condition is not like it used to be," the 31-year-old said.

There were upsets elsewhere, with local hero and 15th seed Tommy Sugiarto unable to fend off unseeded Wei Nan of China's Hong Kong, losing 24-26, 21-8, 20-22 while unseeded Vietnamese Nguyen Tien Minh ejected 10th seed Kashyap Parupalli of India 17-21, 21-13, 21-18.

Indian HS Prannoy, the 11th seed, was more fortunate, taking a place in the last 16 with a routine victory over Uganda's Edwin Ekiring 21-14, 21-19.

World No. 2 Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark will face ninth-seeded South Korean Son Wan-ho in the third round today, while women's second seed Saina Nehwal of India must see off 14th seed Sayaka Takahashi of Japan.

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