New pairs due in January

With the 2018 World Tour set to wrap up, the entries are already in for the first events of next season, and several top players are slated to appear in […]

With the 2018 World Tour set to wrap up, the entries are already in for the first events of next season, and several top players are slated to appear in new pairings in Thailand and Malaysia next month.

Photos: Badmintonphoto

Mixed doubles may see the most prominent changes.  Former world #1 Tontowi Ahmad already had a brief outing in Hong Kong with one new partner and one new he was entered in never materialized.  Now, the Olympic gold medallist is on the list for the Malaysia Masters with former champion Debby Susanto.  These two players did play one tournament together 4 years ago, when they reached the quarter-final of the Hong Kong Open.

Speaking of Hong Kong, former Tang Chun Man is preparing to try out two new partnerships starging a week earlier at the Thailand Masters.  Tang opened his season last year by winning the Malaysia Masters with Tse Ying Suet, with whom he would eventually reach world #2 and take silver at the Asian Games.  This year, he will appear in Thailand with 20-year-old Ng Tsz Yau, then in Malaysia with Wu Yi Ting.

Tang, whose career highlights have always been in mixed doubles, is also entered in men’s doubles with Mak Hee Chun, formerly of Malaysia.  Mak has already been appearing in his own new partnership in mixed, with former top ten player Chau Hoi Wah.

Chinese Taipei is the other team that appears to be experimenting with new pairings.  The island nation has had four different men’s doubles pairs ranked in the top ten in the past 13 months.  One of these, Asian Games bronze medallists Lee Jhe Huei and Lee Yang, have slipped to #17 in the world and they will each be showing up with new partners in January.  Jhe Huei has been entered for Thailand with Yang Po Hsuan, while Yang is to play the Malaysia Masters with current world #4 Wang Chi Lin.  Wang started his shuffle early.  Just over a week before appearing as second seed in Guangzhou with veteran Chen Hung Ling, he  was in the final of the Korea Masters in a scratch pairing.

Some changes are in evidence in the European contingents as well.  With Mads Conrad Petersen taking a break, Mads Pieler Kolding has been paired with Niclas Nohr.  Meanwhile, the injury that Jacco Arends sustained in Scotland has forced a shuffle in the Dutch team, with Selena Piek now playing with Robin Tabeling, and Cheryl Seinen paired up with Ruben Jille.

The home teams’ pairings seem to be remaining largely intact.  However Thailand, which has struggled to find a viable men’s doubles pair, will have last year’s Thailand Masters winner Tinn Isriyanet paired up with former world #11 Nipitphon Puangpuapech.

Use the following links to download the initial entry lists from the website for the Thailand Masters and Malaysia Masters

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