Badminton Life

Badminton: Chance For Malaysians To Make Good

JOHOR BAHARU, June 15 (Bernama) -- For Lee Chong Wei, winning the Singapore Open men's singles title perhaps, will help soothe the pain of a disappointing Thomas Cup performance last month.

The 28-year-old starts as favourite and his first-round opponent at the Singapore Indoor stadium tomorrow is France's Brice Liverdez, a player he is expected to get past with ease.

And in the absence of the big guns from China, including defending champion Bao Cunlai, Chong Wei is expected to face Indonesia's Sony Kuncoro in the last eight, a tricky match considering that the Indonesia No 1 has beaten him twice before -- in the 2006 and 2009 world championships.

Should Chong Wei get through, then there is his nemesis, Vietnam's Nguyen Tienh Minh, who got the Malaysian out in the second round last year or Japan's Kenichi Tago, the beaten All England finalist recently, in the semi-final.

And if all goes well and the formbook is of any help, then Chong Wei, the 2008 champion will face the No 2 seed Peter Gade of Denmark in the final.

"Don't forget I am just back in competition after the Thomas Cup last month, and I am also recovering from a slight knee pain. In any case, there is the Commonwealth Games and also the Asian Games to come in the next six months.

"So, the Singapore open is part of my preparation and it doesn't matter who I am playing against. Whether Lin Dan and the other Chinese players are here or not, will not make a difference to me," he said.

Like Chong Wei, the men's pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong are the No 1 seed and like Chong Wei, the pair is hoping to make it good in Singapore to keep their reputation and raise their performance level in the eyes of the world.

A string of unimpressive performance in the Thomas Cup in Kuala Lumpur last month has cast doubts on their future as a pair, and there is talk that they could be split to pursue their careers with different partners.

But a victory in Singapore could change things and a first-round win over South Korea's Kim Ki Jung and Shun Baek Chul should help their cause.

The Indonesian pair of Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan are the No 2 seed and the Beijing Olympic gold medallists are the combination to watch out for.

Malaysia's women's singles hope, Wong Mew Choo, play the No 1 seed Saina Nehwal in their opening match but all eyes will be on China's Lu Lan, the 2009 singles world champion who was not named to the China Uber Cup squad.

Lu Lan is just about the only big name from China for the tournament and she is seeded No 4, behind defending champion Zhou Mi of Hong Kong and Denmark's Tine Rasmussen, the 2008 champion at No 2.

Source from BERNAMA

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