World number one Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia was handed the worst birthday present possible after he was blown out of the Denmark Open to unseeded Brice Leverdez of France – while Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan-yi, also unseeded, reached her first ever Superseries semi-final in the women’s singles.
Celebrating his 34th birthday in Odense, the Malaysian ace was stunned by Leverdez in three gruelling games 17-21, 22-20, 19-21 after 77 minutes, ending Lee’s dream of winning his fourth title at the US$700,000 tournament.
The Frenchman, who also ousted fifth seed Chou Tien-Chan of Taiwan in the second round, is now in his first ever Superseries Premier semi-final where he will take on another unseeded player Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk of Thailand. The other semi-final features two South Korea players – Lee Hyun II and sixth seed Son Wan Ho.
Lee said after the defeat that he would like to give a lot of credit to Leverdez who played the match of his life.
Hong Kong’s Cheung will take on fifth seed Tai Tzu-Ying of Taiwan in an attempt to challenge for her first Superseries title.
Cheung shrugged off the disappointment after losing out to fellow teammate Yip Pui-yin in the battle to reach the Rio Olympics this summer as the 23-year-old defeated Sayaka Sato of Japan in straight games 21-19, 21-12.
The up-and-comer’s best result in a Superseries tournament was a quarter-final berth in last year’s Malaysia Open when Cheung was defeated by world number one Caroline Marin of Spain, who will be playing in the other semi-final in Odense against Akane Yamaguchi of Japan.