For the Dane, who had taken Chen to three games in Malaysia, it was a confidence-boosting victory after early losses through the second half of last year.
“I’m so happy, I played a good match against her last week and she won the tournament and I also knew maybe she was tired today, so I just had to go in and give all I had, see how it goes, and I won and I’m so happy,” said an excited Kjaersfeldt.
“Last week, I lost in three games, but I felt good and she won the tournament, and I was thinking, I will believe in it today and yeah, that was nice.”
The world No.29 said her training at the end of the year had helped get her in better shape for this year.
“I had the whole of December training and it was a year with a lot of tournaments, so it was nice to focus on training, and get in better shape and it’s paying off now. The first half-year (2019) went really good, but from the second half it was not really good. So I thought I have to play better from the start of 2020 and I think I’m doing that. I’m stronger, I’ve been training so hard, it’s just hard work. For sure it gave me confidence to beat her. Now I hope I can win tomorrow.”
The Dane next faces USA’s Beiwen Zhang, who withstood a tough challenge from Chinese youngster Zhang Yi Man, 21-18 23-21.
Defending champion Saina Nehwal fell in the opening round, 19-21 21-13 21-5 to Sayaka Takahashi, but last year’s finalist Carolina Marin enjoyed a smooth 21-13 21-15 result over Nitchaon Jindapol.
“I got some emotions inside myself when I stepped on court,” Marin said, referring to last year’s final when she injured herself. “In the last part of the first game, I was a bit nervous and that’s why I made some easy mistakes. But otherwise I just came back and got the focus on my gameplan.”
Antonsen Through, Chou Falls
Men’s singles defending champion Anders Antonsen, whose title last year was the biggest of his career, fended off a stubborn Son Wan Ho in the second game, 21-10 21-18.
“Same start as last year, I beat Son Wan Ho in the first round,” Antonsen recalled. “It was exciting to play him again, see where his level is at, and also to get back into the arena.”
However, second seed Chou Tien Chen, who beat Antonsen in the final of the Indonesia Open, fell unexpectedly to Hong Kong Open champion Lee Cheuk Yiu, 21-12 21-17.