Former #1s headed to North America

Former Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui is set to make her first ever appearance on court in North America at the U.S. and Canada Opens next month, but she will […]

Former Olympic gold medallist Li Xuerui is set to make her first ever appearance on court in North America at the U.S. and Canada Opens next month, but she will be one of 3 world #1s crossing the Pacific.

By Don Hearn.  Photos: Badmintonphoto

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Lin Dan may be the headline act at the upcoming in June but he will be just one of 2 former Olympic champions and one of 3 former world #1s to make an appearance in North America.  London women’s singles gold medallist Li Xuerui (pictured top) is making her first ever appearance in North America, where she is slated to play in both the U.S. and Canada Opens.  Lin Dan, who is not going to make a career first appearance in Canada, is nonetheless returning to the United States for the first time in 13 years.  He lost the World Championship final in Anaheim in 2005 to Taufik Hidayat and had to wait for the following year to collect his first of what is now five World Championship titles.  Both players have since been to South America, of course.

The other former world #1 bound for California and Alberta is Korea’s Kim Ha Na (pictured bottom).  Kim is the defending mixed doubles champion at the U. S. Open but is unlikely to make it off the reserve list with her new partner Choi Sol Gyu.  She also reached the women’s doubles final in 2011 in the U.S. and she will appear there this year in a scratch partnership with fellow mixed specialist Chae Yoo Jung.  Kim is in the main draw in both disciplines at the the following week.  Canada was actually the site of one of her first overseas appearances.  She made the women’s doubles semi-finals there in 2010, when she attended with her entire university team.

World #8 Lin Dan (pictured right) is of course being required to play the Malaysia Open, just ten days after things wrap up in California and is one of only a handful of players in the BWF’s new ‘Top Committed Player’ category who plans to switch hemispheres twice between the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals and the kick-off in Kuala Lumpur.  One other is compatriot and fellow former All England champion Lu Kai.   Like Lin, Lu Kai is a ‘Top Committed Player’ – because of his lofty ranking at the end of 2017 with former partner Huang Yaqiong – but he is still 3rd on the reserve list with Zhou Chaomin at the Malaysia Open.  Meanwhile, he has qualified for the main draw in the U. S. and Canada Opens with Chen Lu, his fourth partner since he and Huang split up.

Apart from Lu, only a few players are slated to make the trip from Canada to KL in the 3 days between tournaments.  3 of them are top medal contenders in Calgary.  Both women’s and men’s singles top seeds – Michelle Li of Canada and Sameer Verma of India respectively – are entered in both events as are men’s doubles #2 seeds Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy, the 2016 champions.

Click the following links to see the entry lists for the 2018 U. S. Open and the 2018 Canada Open

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 @