LIN Dan will be the player to beat in the Japan Open in Tokyo.
The two-time Olympic champion safely negotiated past Japan's Sakai Kazumasa (12-21, 21-19, 21-17) and Liew Daren (21-18, 21-17) in the qualifying round yesterday. He plays compatriot Song Xue in today's main draw first round match.
The defeat to Lin Dan will serve as a good experience for Liew Daren, who is hoping to resurrect his fading career.
The World No 60 has failed to improve accordingly since winning the 2012 French Open. Liew Daren also failed to make an impression in the Thomas Cup last month.
The World No 35 Lin Dan has been exceptional in tournaments since his return from his Olympic success two years ago by winning three straight titles at the World Championships, China Masters GP and Asian Championships
Lin Dan, who will likely face Chong Wei Feng in the second round, is expected to upset the form book and play Chen Long in the semi-finals.
Fans could see a final between World No 1 Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan on Sunday.
Like Chong Wei, the China ace will be hoping to make amends after his country failed to retain the Thomas Cup in New Delhi last month.
Chong Wei will open against Taiwan's World No 102 Shih Kuei Chun today.