Badminton Life

Players Gear Up for Taiwan Open

The Taiwan Open, which is a Grand Prix Gold event, has failed to attract the world's leading players, who tend to play in the Super Series tournaments.

However, organisers are still expecting a competitive field, with a mixture of veterans and up-and-coming players eager to make their mark.

The biggest names in the men's singles are China's former superstar Chen Hong, Malaysia's Roslin Hashim Lee Tsuen Seng and second-seeded Sairul Amar Ayob.

Indonesia's Simon Santoso, Hong Kong's Ng Wei and Chan Yan-kit and Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Minh are other players of note who will be taking part in the men's singles competition.

The 32-year-old Roslin received a major confidence-booster ahead of the tournament when he won the Penang Open, beating his brother Hafiz in the final.

Hong Kong's Chan, the third seed, has a tough opening match against Chen, who is a former world number one.

The star of the tournament, though, is likely to come from the women's singles competition where Olympic bronze medallist Maria Kristin Yulianti, of Indonesia, will be vying for top honours.

Maria stunned the world with her third place at the Beijing Games and the way she fearlessly overcome players more experience than her on her way to the semi-finals.

She will be the one to beat in the tournament, which also includes Xu Huaiwen and Yao Jie.

Another women's player to watch out for is India's Saina Nehwal, who progressed past the first round at the Olympics and is capable of causing an upset.

Junior players Porntip Buranaprasertsuk and Fu Mingtian, of China, are also hoping to perform well in the tournament.

South Korea's Olympic gold medal winning pair of Lee Yae-dong and Lee Hyo-jung were supposed to be playing the mixed doubles event in Taiwan but have withdrawn because of other commitments.

Their presence would have really boosted the appeal of the tournament, which leaves the Taiwanese pairs of Fang and Cheng, as well as Hsieh and Chien, as the favourites for the title.

The Taiwan Open is the first of three Asian events in September and is followed by the Japan Open and the China Masters.

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