France’s Brice Leverdez stunned Malaysia’s second seed Lee Chong Wei 21-19 22-24 21-17 in the first round of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships in Glasgow on Tuesday.
Leverdez, the world number 31, scored only his second win over Lee in nine matches and said playing without fear helped him in the 75-minute contest at the Emirates Arena.
“I know I am the underdog when I play Lee and usually I would have put pressure on myself. This time I wanted to play my game, joke on court with myself,” the 31-year-old said.
Leverdez failed to convert two match points in the second game but kept his composure against a nervy Lee in the decider to grind out the result.
Defeat ended the 34-year-old Lee’s hunt for an elusive first title in a competition in which he has been runner-up three times.
“Brice played so well today… he had the lead for a lot of the second game and he was very lucky,” Lee said after the match.