Wednesday October 24, 2012
Koo-Tan get chance to end two-year drought in France
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
PETALING JAYA: It was an all too familiar story at the Denmark Open last week, with Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong again letting victory slip from their grasp against newly-formed South Korean pair Shin Baek-cheol-Yoo Yeon-seong in the final.
But Kien Keat-Boon Heong did put up a creditable performance, although they failed to end their two-year Super Series title drought.
The pair did well to beat the more fancied Ko Sung-hyun-Lee Yong-dae and home favourites Mathias Boe-Carsten Morgensen.
So, the world No. 6 do stand a chance of winning the French Open, which begins today.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong are seeded second – due to the absence of several top pairs – and drawn to meet a qualifier in the first round.
They should advance to face compatriots Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari in the second round.
The real test should come in the quarter-finals, where they are expected to again face Sung-hyun-Yong-dae while a potential semi-final against another Korean pair – fourth seeds Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang – looms large as well.
Besides Kien Keat-Boon Heong, the other pairs in the fray are national No. 2 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and the professional duo Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock.
Both these pairs, however, face a tough challenge. Thien How-Wee Kiong are set to face top seeds Boe-Morgensen in the second round while Teik Chai-Soon Hock will be up against seventh seeds Bodin Isaara-Maneepong Jongjit of Thailand in the first round.
In the men’s singles, the absence of top players like world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei and China’s Lin Dan and Chen Long should provide the second stringers – Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren – a chance to come good.
Wei Feng faces a qualifier in the first round and should be up against Japan’s Kenichi Tago next in a rematch of their Japan Open encounter which Wei Feng won.
Daren, on the other hand, takes on Taiwan’s Chou Tien Chen first and a win should see him go up against in-form Hu Yun of Hong Kong.
The other singles shuttler in the fray is the Apacs-sponsored Tan Chun Seang, who will meet top seed Simon Santoso of Indonesia in the first round.
Meanwhile, reigning world junior champion Zulfadli Zulkifli qualified for the main draw of a Super Series event for the first time.
The lanky 19-year-old first defeated Austrian Michael Lahnsteiner 21-13, 21-12 before easing past homester Matthieu Lo Ying Ping 21-11, 21-13.