China's Olympic badminton champion Li Xuerui survived a scare in the first round of the Japan Open on Wednesday, as she battled from behind to beat world junior champion Akane Yamaguchi.
Top-seeded Li, the world No. 1, needed 65 minutes to tame the Japanese high school girl, who won last year's women's title, 17-21, 21-19, 21-18.
The 21-year-old Li, competing for the first time in the Japan Open, allowed Akane to take a 20-12 lead after a 4-all tie in the first game. Li's fightback stopped at 17-20.