Draws out for Worlds: Top seeds could play defending champion in first match

Men’s doubles top seeds Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen could face two-time defending champion Mohammad Ahsan in their very first match at the World Championships. The Badminton World Federation (BWF) […]

Men’s doubles top seeds Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen could face two-time defending champion Mohammad Ahsan in their very first match at the .

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has released the draws for the upcoming BWF World Championships and men’s doubles top seeds Li Junhui / Liu Yuchen have a rather unenviable first match to look forward to.  After a bye in the first round, the Chinese world #1 pair will play the victor between Richard Eidestedt / Nico Ruponen of Sweden and Indonesia’s Mohammad Ahsan / Rian Agung Saputro.  Ahsan is the only returning champion in men’s doubles and he won this title in both 2013 and 2015 with Hendra Setiawan, who turned down an invitation to the event.

The only men’s doubles top seeds to win the world title this century were the great Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng.  They won as top seeds in 2006 and 2011 and also took the titles in 2009 and 2010, seeded fifth on both of those occasions.  Li/Liu had an impressive record against Ahsan and Setiawan and beat Ahsan and Saputro in Singapore this year but the Indonesians will already have a match under their belt if they beat the Swedes and especially in big tournaments, anything can happen.

Both women’s draws have some interesting early contests.  In women’s doubles, the top pairs from Korea and Japan are both drawn to meet strong, seeded compatriots in the third round and two of China’s four pairs are similarly close in the bracket.  In women’s singles, second-seeded Sung Ji Hyun and 2015 runner-up Saina Nehwal are slated to meet in the third round, while two-time defending champion Carolina Marin is in the same quarter as Japan’s Nozomi Okuhara, a player she has beaten only once in their last five meetings. 

In men’s singles, top seed Son Wan Ho finds both in-form Srikanth Kidambi and Lin Dan in his path to the final.  Three-time runner-up Lee Chong Wei, this year’s second seed, has defending World and Olympic champion Chen Long in the same quarter.

The seed with possibly the toughest opener is China’s Tian Houwei.  The world #11 has to take on 2016 Australian Open winner Hans-Kristian Vittinghus in the round of 64.

Click here to see the complete draws

Photo: Badmintonphoto

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Don Hearn

About Don Hearn

Don Hearn is an Editor and Correspondent who hails from a badminton-loving town in rural Canada. He joined the Badzine team in 2006 to provide coverage of the Korean badminton scene and is committed to helping Badzine to promote badminton to the place it deserves as a global sport. Contact him at: don @ badzine.net