Former world No.1 Lee Chong Wei could hardly hide his excitement at being back on the world stage.
Together with Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (men's doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles) contributing one point each, Malaysia confounded the critics to power past second seeds South Korea 3-2 in the opening Group D match of the Sudirman Cup on Sunday.
In his first competitive match since coming back from an eight-month ban for failing a dope test at the World Championships last year, Chong Wei was back to his ‘old’ self in no time.
There were no cobwebs, no jitters in his game as the 32-year-old Malaysia outplayed world No. 34 Lee Dong-keun 21-12, 21-10 at the Dongfeng Nissan Sports Centre.
Chong Wei was quick on his feet and his reflexes were excellent. He even entertained the crowd with several trick shots.
“Playing here is like playing at home. I’ve played in Dongguan before in the China Badminton League. I always enjoy myself here,” said Chong Wei.
“I was a little nervous when I started the match since I was out for so long. Overall, I’m happy with my performance.
"Despite missing the action for the past several months, I managed to find my rhythm. I hope to keep on playing well in the next match.”
Chong Wei's easy win handed Malaysia a 2-1 lead, thanks to the men’s doubles pair's shocking 20-22, 21-14, 27-25 win over world No.1 Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seon in the opening tie.
South Korea had earlier made it 1-1 by winning the women’s singles clash with world No. 7 Sung Ji-hyun handing youngster Lim Yin Fun a 21-9, 21-7 thrashing.
The Malaysian women’s pair of Woon Khe Wei-Vivian Hoo also lost their tie to Chang Ye-na-Jung Kyung-eun 22-20, 21-9 before Peng Soon-Liu Ying came on to deliver the winning point, beating Ko Sung-hyun-Kim Ha-na 23-21, 21-13.
“I think the team spirit is strong here. And V Shem-Wee Kiong winning the first match definitely made me more fired up," said Chong Wei.