Badminton Life

Lee and Sony Seeded for Final Clash in Malaysia

World number one Lee Chong Wei and Indonesia's fourth-ranked Sony Dwi Kuncoro have been seeded one and two respectively for the Malaysian Open, the first Super Series tournament of the 2009 season.

The tournament, from January 6-11, boasts a strong line-up despite the absence of Chinese players, including Olympic champion and world number two Lin Dan.

Seeded third is the 2007 champion Peter Gade-Christensen of Denmark, who won the recent Copenhagen Masters and is currently in top form at the age of 31.

The fourth seed is the always dangerous Indonesian Taufik Hidayat, who is ranked sixth in the world, one spot behind Gade-Christensen.

However, none of the top four are guaranteed places in the semi-finals given the strong opposition they may encounter.

Leading the challenge is South Korea's Asian champion Park Sung-hwan, the world number 10 who is seeded fifth.

Poland's Przemyslaw Wacha, ranked number 12, is seeded sixth ahead of Thailand's Boonsak Ponsana, the world number 13 and Indonesia's 14th-ranked Simon Santoso.

The top four in Malaysia will enjoy the same seedings for the Korean Open, which immediately follows the Kuala Lumpur event. The only new face will be Denmark's Joachim Persson, who is the fifth seed ahead of Park, Wacha and Santoso.

The women's singles tournament also features the world's number one ranked player in the form of Hong Kong's Zhou Mi, who, like Lee, won the Super Series Masters title earlier in December.

She has held on to the top ranking and will lead a strong line-up in the women's singles field.

Denmark's Tine Rasmussen, the All England champion, is seeded second ahead of Hong Kong's sixth-ranked Wang Chen and Frenchwoman Pi Hongyan, the world number seven.

All of these players will be watchful of Indian teenage sensation Saina Nehwal, who broke into the top 10 in 2008 and is eager to make an even bigger impact on the world circuit in 2009.

Nehwal is seeded fifth ahead of Malaysia's 11th-ranked Wong Mew Choo, Hong Kong' s Yip Pui-yin, ranked 13 and world number 14 Petya Nedelcheva, of Bulgaria, who is also making great strides in European badminton.

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