FRENCH OPEN 2010 Preview – Bienvenue à Paris!

Only a few more days left until more badminton action gets underway in the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium for the Yonex Internationaux de France, the 10th leg of the Super […]

Only a few more days left until more badminton action gets underway in the Pierre de Coubertin Stadium for the Yonex Internationaux de France, the 10th leg of the Super Series circuit. The World Championships were successfully held in the same venue barely two months ago and although dozens of big names will be missing, this year’s promises to be equally as exciting.

By Greg Chan, Badzine Correspondent. Photos: Badmintonphoto.

Women’s singles

World #2 Wang Yihan (photo) is the top seed for this year’s event. With the huge number of withdrawals this year it also means that Wang Yihan is one of two defending champions present in the draw. She looks set to repeat last year’s performance when she beat the then top-ranked player Wang Lin (who misses this year’s edition due to a knee injury) to win the title.

On paper, Yihan’s path to the final shouldn’t be much of a problem; she will only meet a seeded player (Ella Diehl, seeded sixth) in the quarterfinals. If everything goes to plan an exciting match-up with local hero Pi Hongyan [3] awaits in the semis. However, Pi has been handed a tough first-round match against 16-year-old Taiwanese wonder Tai Tzu Ying, who, despite her young age, will be hoping to create an upset and go deep in the tournament, as she did in the Singapore Open Super Series earlier this year.

The bottom half of the draw offers some interesting early matchups as well. The second-seeded Dane Tine Baun will have a tricky encounter with former World Champion Zhu Lin in the second round. Zhu Lin has had a good summer this year, winning two Grand Prix tournament in the North American continent, but it will be interesting to see how she matches up against the Dane, who holds a 2-1 advantage in their head-to-head meetings.

Olga Konon may be unseeded, but she looks to be the darkhorse lurking in the bottom half of the draw. A possible match against Chinese youngster Li Xuerui [8], winner of this year’s Asian Championships and Kumpoo Macau Open awaits Olga in the second round.

First round match to watch:

Pi Hongyan vs Tai Tzu Ying

Men’s Singles

The announcement of Peter Gade’s withdrawal from the Denmark Open has been a blow to fans who are hoping to catch him in action in Paris, where he has done very well in the past two years. The top seed still hopes to make it for the French Open and he has a very favourable draw, with a highly possible clash against fellow Dane Jan Ø. Jørgensen (photo) in the semi-finals. But the always-dangerous Chinese youngster Du Pengyu might await Jørgensen in the second round and Du will certainly look to pull off an upset here.

Last year’s beaten finalist and second-seed Taufik Hidayat also enjoys a favourable draw in the early rounds and looks set to meet seventh-seed Boonsak Ponsana in the semi-finals.  The Thai has never won against Taufik before in their previous seven meetings. Can he chalk up his first victory against Taufik here?

First round match to watch:
Joachim Persson vs. Eric Pang

Men’s Doubles

“Even though 8 out of the 10 best pairs in the world are not in this year’s tournament, good badminton will still be played in Paris!” guaranteed Mathias Boe, one half of the pair (with Carsten Mogensen) top-seeded for this year’s edition, when asked about his opinion on the absence of most of the top Asian pairs. He looks forward to playing well again and to achieving a good result in the tournament. They may have lost in the semi-finals last year but Mathias always finds it a pleasure to play in Paris and credits the appreciative French crowd for the wonderful playing atmosphere.

The exciting new pairing of Jonas Rasmussen & Mads Conrad-Petersen (photo), seeded fifth, might make an impact in this upper half of the draw, provided they get through against another new pairing from Malaysia, Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif & Hoon Thien How.  But defending champions Markis Kido & Hendra Setiawan will not want to give up their crown easily and, barring any huge upsets, look set to meet one of the Danish pairs in the final. The Indonesians might be tested, however, in the quarter-finals, where they might meet sixth-seeded Malaysians Tan Bin Shen / Gan Teik Chai.

First round match to watch:
Jonas Rasmussen / Mads Conrad-Petersen vs. Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif / Hoon Thien How

Mixed Doubles

Top seeds for the mixed doubles are the Indonesians Vita Marissa and Hendra Aprida Gunawan. The runners-up from last year’s edition would certainly want to go a step further this year. A semi-final matchup against either one of Denmark’s top mixed doubles pairing of Thomas Laybourn & Kamilla Rytter Juhl [3] or Joachim Fischer-Nielsen & Christinna Pedersen [5] looks highly possible. The fifth seeds, however, have a possible tricky encounter in the second round where they might meet the scratch pair of Hendra Setiawan / Anastasia Russkikh.

Meanwhile the second-seeded Polish pair of Robert Mateusiak & Nadiezda Zieba will fancy their chances of doing well in the tournament as they enjoy a rather straight-forward path at the bottom half of the draw.

First round match to watch:
Anthony Clark / Heather Olver vs. Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam

Women’s Doubles

The womens doubles event seems to have one of the most relaxed draw ever seen in a Super Series event – after the post-Olympics China Masters – with up to 9 pairs receiving byes into the second round. Top seeds Anastasia Russkikh & Petya Nedelcheva will look set to capitalize on the easy draw and make it all the way. A final showdown against the winners of the recent Yonex Dutch Open GP event Nina Vislova & Valeria Sorokina (second seeds from Russia, photo) appears highly possible.

First round match to watch:
Nadia Melati / Vita Marissa vs. Mie Schjoett / Line Kruse

For complete draws, CLICK HERE

About Guest Contributor