MALAYSIA OPEN 2012 Preview – Roaring into a new start

The Malaysian Open 2012 features a new title sponsor as local Malaysian bank Maybank has taken over from now-co-sponsor Proton. It is the most anticipated event for the year for […]

The Malaysian Open 2012 features a new title sponsor as local Malaysian bank Maybank has taken over from now-co-sponsor Proton. It is the most anticipated event for the year for players and fans but one question now remains: will Lee Chong Wei be victorious and hold onto the men’s singles title for the 8th time?

By Adrian Kok, Badzine Correspondent.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

Men’s Doubles

Jonas Rasmussen and Mads Conrad-Petersen (photo) did well to be runners-up in the 2011 edition.  This year, although Korea’s top seed Jung Jae Sung has announced he will not make the trip south, the Danes are positioned at the upper half of the draws with the top pairs from Indonesia and, of course, with defending champions Chai Biao / Guo Zhendong.

The Danish pair will be up against the Indonesian pair of Hendra Aprida Gunawan and Alvent Yulianto Chandra. It will be a thrilling match as both pairs have their eyes fixed to book themselves a place in the Olympic Games.

Though things seems to be going downhill for Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, the Malaysian #1’s path to the quarter-finals should be a walk in the park. The local pair will play against an Indian pair of K. T. Rupesh Kumar and Sanave Thomas which should not pose a threat to the Malaysians.

First round men’s doubles matches of note:
Chai Biao / Guo Zhendong (CHN) [3] vs. Chris Adcock / Andrew Ellis (ENG)
Ko Sung Hyun / Yoo Yeon Seong (KOR) [2] vs. Hiroyuki Endo / Kenichi Hayakawa (JPN)

Men’s Singles

Lee Chong Wei’s outstanding triumph over Lin Dan at the 2012 Korea Open shows that he still has what it takes to win the men’s singles title for the 8th time. The world number one (photo) will have an easy path to the semi-finals. He will potentially meet his new foe Chen Long at the semi-final stage as both of them are in top half of the draw.

The lower half of the draw will feature the likes of Lin Dan, Peter Gade and Chen Jin. Peter will play first against a Wong Wing Ki of Hong Kong. If he is victorious, he will possibly meet with Boonsak Ponsana or Kenichi Tago.

On the other hand, Lin Dan might be gunning for his first ever win here in the . He was jeered by fans last year because of a walkover.

The match to look out for in the first round is between the sixth seed Sho Sasaki and Marc Zwiebler. Both of the players of late have displayed great progress their games. They have both met twice and each has won one of the encounters.

First round men’s singles matches of note:
Nguyen Tien Minh (VIE) [8] vs. Wang Zhengming (CHN)
Kenichi Tago (JPN) vs. Boonsak Ponsana (THA)
Jan O Jorgensen (DEN) vs. Du Pengyu (CHN)

Women’s Singles

The current world number seven, Sung Ji Hyun (photo), had plenty of ups and downs in the 2011 season. After a disappointing start to 2012 at home this past week, the young Korean will hope for better luck when she meets Olga Konon of Germany in the first round.  She will then possibly meet Ratchanok Intanon. The lower-ranked Thai will be a threat as she has been in good form so watch out for an upset.

Both players are in the upper half of the draw together with Saina Nehwal  and Tine Baun. Wang Shixian will be aiming for a second win of the year as she has won the Korea Open over her compatriot Jiang Yanjiao. She will play against Michelle Li from Canada in the first round and there should be no trouble for her until the quarter-finals where Juliane Schenk from Germany could stop her advancement. Malaysia, on the other hand, does not have a player with a realistic chance in this discipline.

First round women’s singles matches of note:
Wang Xin  (CHN) [2] vs. Yip Pui Yin (HKG)
Pi  Hongyan (FRA) vs. Sayaka Sato (JPN)
Li Xuerui (CHN) vs. Ratchanok Intanon (THA)

Mixed Doubles

In recent times, there has not been one dominant pair in the mixed doubles. All the top pairs have the potential to win.  Lee Yong Dae  and Ha Jung Eun  played an outstanding match against Xu Chen  and Ma Jin. Though the Koreans lost, they did show that they are indeed pair to look out for.

The Koreans will be matched up against Songphon Anugritayawon and Kunchala Voravichitchaikul in the first round. If they do succeed in advancing to the quarter-finals, they will again meet their Korea Open final opponents Xu Chen and Ma Jin.

The local pair of Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying (photo) is the only pair that made it into the main draw. They will be up against the fifth seeds Chen Hung Ling and Cheng Wen Hsing from Chinese Taipei. The head to head statistics favours the more experience Taiwanese pair. However the local fans might provide a boost of confidence to the Malaysian pair.

First round mixed doubles matches of note:
Shintaro Ikeda / Reiko Shiota (JPN) [8] vs. Shoji Sato / Shizuka Matsuo (JPN)
Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam  (THA) [6] vs. Alexandr Nikolaenko / Valeri Sorokina (RUS)
Tontowi Ahmad / Liliyana Natsir (INA) [4] vs Robert Blair (SCO) / Gabrielle White (ENG)

Women’s Doubles

It is interesting to see that all of China’s top three women’s pairs are absent and second tier players were the only ones fielded in this edition of Malaysia Open. An interesting tie that concerns the Chinese team is between Xia Huan and Tang Jinhua (photo) of China and Japanese pair of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa.The more experience Japanese should win over the Chinese in first round match and they are looking at a possible quarter-final with the Danish pair of Christinna Pedersen and Kamilla Rytter Juhl.

The up and coming local pair of Vivian Hoo and Woon Khe Wei will have an uphill task at the first round on Wednesday. They will be playing against third-seeded Satoko Suetsuna and Miyuki Maeda. The more junior Malaysian pair will have to do a lot to win this tough match and make a good impression on the local fans.

First round women’s doubles matches of note:
Kamilla Rytter Juhl / Christinna Pedersen (DEN) [7] vs. Jwala Gutta / Ashwini Ponnappa (IND)
Bao Yixin / Zhong Qianxin (CHN) vs. Jung Kyung Eun / Kim Ha Na (KOR)
Eom Hye Won / Jang Ye Na (KOR) vs. Meiliana Jauhari / Greysia Polii (INA)

Click here for the complete draws for the 2012 Maybank Malaysia Open

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About Adrian Kok