China's Olympic champion Chen Yufei extended her head-to-head (h2h) record against Japan's Aya Ohori with a 21-18, 21-12 first round win at the first BWF World Tour Super 1000 event of the year, Malaysia Open. Meanwhile, two other Chinese shuttlers also advanced in the women's singles event, as He Bingjiao beat Mia Blichfeldt of Denmark 21-15, 21-15, and Wang Zhiyi beat Pornpicha Choeikeewong of Thailand 21-14, 21-14.
Chen established an early 6-3 lead in the opening game, and went on to expand the gap 15-9, but Ohori managed to level both times at 8-8 and 17-17, before Chen decisively took the game 21-18. The two exchanged leads in the second game till 7-7. Chen clinched four points in a row to lead 11-7 and left her opponent no chance to extend their h2h record to 12-0.
Chen will next face Thailand's former world number one Ratchanok Intanon, who downed Burmese player Thet Htar Thuzar, to fight for a berth in the round of eight.
Last year, an injury-hit Chen won one title at BWF World Tour Super 1000 level and three titles at Super 750 level, and rose to world number two to end the season while battling injury. The 25-year-old had a 3-6 record against top-ranked An Se-young of South Korea, who also struggled with injury particularly after the Hangzhou Asian Games. As the countdown to Paris Olympic Games passed its 200-day mark, the defending champion is anticipating some breakthroughs in 2024 after maintaining a steady performance last season.
Chinese shuttlers are registered in a total of 11 fixtures across all five events on Wednesday.