Wednesday February 20, 2013
China’s youngsters out to ruin our double joy bid at the All-England
By RAJES PAUL
KUALA LUMPUR: China will be banking on their youngsters to break the resolves of top players – Lee Chong Wei and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong – to prevent them from making it a double joy for Malaysia at the All-England badminton tournament in Birmingham from March 5-10.
In the draw released by Badminton World Federation (BWF) yesterday, top seed Chong Wei will take on Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong in the first round but he has three youngsters from China – Wang Zhengming, Du Pengyu and Gao Huan – in his half.
Although two-time All-England champion Chong Wei is the favourite but the young upstarts are capable of wearing him down and this could test the world No. 1 shuttler’s stamina.
In the lower half of the draw are second seed Chen Long and former world champion Chen Jin of China, Indonesia’s rejuvenated Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Japan’s Kenichi Tago.
Malaysia also have two other players in the lower half but Liew Daren and Chong Wei Feng have challenging openers as they will take on Chen Jin and Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark respectively.
National singles chief coach Rashid Sidek said he could foresee China’s game plan based on the draw.
“If Chong Wei beats Wing Ki, he will probably take on Wang Zhengming in the second round. In the Korean Open last month, Zhengming gave Chong Wei a run for his money. I am sure he will be out to made Chong Wei stay on court as long as possible,” said Rashid.
“Then there could be Pengyu or Gao Han in the semi-finals.
“Pengyu is the more dangerous one as he had beaten Chong Wei once when the Malaysian was physically and mentally drained at the Super Series Masters Finals in China in December. He will be out to push Chong Wei to the limit again.
“If Chong Wei makes it to the final after all the tough matches, it will surely be very taxing for him. Chen Long is the favourite to enter the final from the lower half.
“Despite all this, I am still confident Chong Wei’s campaign will go down well in this edition.”
On the chances of Daren and Wei Feng, Rashid said: “It is tough from the start but this is expected. I hope Daren and Wei Feng will be able to rise above expectations and get the better of their higher ranked opponents.”
China’s young pair Hong Wei-Shen Ye stand in the way of Kien Keat-Boon Heong moving beyond the quarter-finals.
The Chinese youngsters have beaten the Malaysians twice in three meetings and their last victory over the Malaysians was at last year’s All-England second round.
But national doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her is confident that 2007 All-England champions Kien Keat-Boon Heong would get past the quarter-finals based on their commitment in training.
“To me, I consider the draw to be fair for Koo and Tan. They will play England’s Chris Adcock-Andrew Ellis in the opening round and on current form, should get the better of the Chinese pair if they cross path,” said Kim Her.
And there is a possibility for Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem making it an all-Malaysian semi-final with Kien Keat-Boon Heong if they can overcome higher ranked pairs – Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata and Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa of Japan, Kim Ki-jung-Kim sa-rang of South Korea and Indonesia’s Markis Kido-Alven Yulianto.
In the top half of the draw, two Malaysian pairs – Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari – will have for company top seeds Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark, South Koreans Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun, China’s Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng and Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia.
“It is obvious that Hoon and Tan are in the tougher half of the draw. They may play Yong-dae-Sung-hyun in the second round but I hope they will give a good fight against the fancied pair,” said Kim Her.
In the mixed doubles, Malaysia’s hope rests on world No. 3 Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying but they have been drawn in a tough half as they have China’s two great pairs – top seeds Xu Chen-Ma Jin and fifth seeds Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei for company.
They may meet Zhang-Zhao in the quarter-finals.
For the record, Malaysia last tasted double joy in the 1966 All-England through Tan Aik Huang (singles) and Ng Boon Bee-Tan Yee Khan (doubles).