|Japan’s Kenichi Tago returns a shot to Denmark’s Peter Gade Christensen yesterday. Kenichi won 19-21, 21-11, 21-16. Pic by Yazit Razali|
PETER Gade Christensen has many fond memories of the Maybank Malaysia Open but a grand farewell was not to be yesterday as the Dane was beaten by Japan's rising star Kenichi Tago in the men's singles second round in Bukit Jalil.
Tago recorded his first ever career win over Christensen, the fourth seed who announced that he will retire after the London Olympics, with a 19-21, 21-11, 21-16 victory in 68 minutes.
The disappointed Christensen, who won the Malaysia Open in 1998 and 2007, said he wanted a memorable farewell outing in Kuala Lumpur.
|Peter Gade Christensen|
"I am frustrated. I was in better condition and did my best on court but it was not good enough. I've been struggling because of the tough schedule. I will not be competing for two months as I need the space to get my form back," said Christensen yesterday.
"Malaysia will always be a special place for me and I wanted to do something today (yesterday) but I was not at my best. If the tournament was held a few months ago, I would have done better.
"As for the London Olympics, Christensen said he hoped to make it count. For the record, the Dane has not won an Olympic medal.
"I am 35 and in order to sustain the pace, I need to use all my experience to achieve my goal. It will not be easy as the game is faster than before and one needs to be a complete player to do well," he added.
Kenichi, the World No 12, said winning consistently over established shuttlers would boost his confidence. The Japanese was being tipped as the next big star after reaching the 2010 All England final, before bowing out to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei, but so far he has failed to make the grade.
"I am much stronger and confident compared to before but I need to play well and earn victories over high-ranked players on a regular basis to maintain my form ahead of the Olympics," said Kenichi.
"I could have won in straight games today (yesterday) but failed to be patient in the first game. I took one point at the time in the following games to clinch the match." - NST