HONG KONG OPEN 2010 Preview – Dream draw

From World Champions to Olympic titleholders to Thomas/Uber Cup victors, a horde of prize-winning athletes are ready to add one more title to their already remarkable record at the Queen […]

From World Champions to Olympic titleholders to Thomas/Uber Cup victors, a horde of prize-winning athletes are ready to add one more title to their already remarkable record at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium for the last Super Series event of 2010.  That is, of course, if the last minute withdrawals are kept to a minimum.  After an already demanding competition at the China Open last week, an even more challenging chain of clashes lies ahead at the 2010 Yonex-Sunrise Super Series.

By Elm Vandevorst, Badzine Correspondent.   Photos: Badmintonphoto

Men’s Singles

The first indication for this year’s unsurpassed entry list is to be found in the men’s singles.  A tremendous total of eight players from the current top ten are all travelling down to Hong Kong: Lee Chong Wei (pictured), Lin Dan, Taufik Hidayat, Boonsak Ponsana, Nguyen Tien Minh, Chen Long, Chen Jin and Jan O Jorgensen.  Only Bao Chunlai and Peter Gade, the latter due to an injury, will not be present to defend their chances.

With only 32 participants in the main draw, it was inevitable that two of these eight top class shuttlers would already be head-to-head in the opening match.  Denmark Super Series champion Jan O Jorgensen will face Asian Games winner Lin Dan, a match worthy to be a Super Series final.  At the China Open last week, Jorgensen remained the only non-Chinese player left in the quarters, but both he as his upcoming opponent in Hong Kong didn’t participate in that quarter-final.  The Dane couldn’t compete any further due to a toe injury, making it even impossible to put on his shoe.

Besides these eight top-class shuttlers, there are more than enough opponents around ready to take the wind out of their sails.  One of them is Asian Games bronze medallist Park Sung Hwan; however the Korean must defeat Simon Santoso first.  Only separated by one place at the world ranking, it might become an interesting duel.  If Park accomplishes this initial mission he should come face-to-face with Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana.  Even this, though, depends on whether Santoso will even head for Hong Kong after a disappointing performance at the Asian Games.  According to Lius Pongoh, the chairman of development of the PBSI (the Badminton Association of Indonesia), players “who looked less than the maximum” at the recent Asian Games for the time being will not be sent to Hong Kong.

Du Pengyu (photo), on the other hand, is in great shape, proven by his semi-final at the China Open.  The 22-year-old Chinese already came across Taufik Hidayat at the Denmark Open semi-final and lost after three tremendous games.  Perhaps this time, he can have the upper hand against the perennial Indonesian contender.

First round matches of note:
Du Pengyu (CHN) vs. Taufik Hidayat (INA)
Lin Dan (CHN) vs. Jan O Jorgensen (DEN)
Park Sung Hwan (KOR) vs. Simon Santoso (INA)

Women’s singles

Despite the fact they’re still in control for now, the Chinese women can expect some new dark horses to turn up very soon.  The Thai teenagers are coming into sight, demonstrated by their silver medal at the Asian Games team event.  Current Junior World Champion Ratchanok Intanon and fellow promising teen Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (photo) are just two of their future stars.  Ratchanok defeated Lu Lan in three gruelling games in Shanghai, in the quarters Jiang Yanjiao was just a bit stronger, winning only 21-10, 19-21, 21-18.  In Hong Kong, the Thai teenager will be up against the experienced Ella Diehl.  Buranaprasertsuk must have a trouble-free starter as she has to deal with American Rena Wang.

But at this very moment, the Chinese ladies are still in command, having won no fewer than eight Super Series titles in the singles this year.  Wang Yihan, Wang Shixian, Jiang Yanjiao and Wang Xin were all capable of claiming two titles so far.  Both Xin as Shixian can complete a “triple” if they win the last tournament.  Xin will bump into Indonesia’s Maria Febe Kusumastuti, whereas Shixian will meet former compatriot Yao Jie.  The two already came across each other at this year’s World Championships, with the Chinese emerging the easy victor.

First round matches of note:
Ella Diehl (RUS) vs. Intanon Ratchanok (THA)
Wang Shixian (CHN) vs. Yao Jie (NED)
Bae Seung Hee (KOR) vs. Yip Pui Yin (HKG)

Women’s doubles

There are no Japanese shuttlers at the Hong Kong Open since they all have stayed within Japan to participate in their National Championships.  This means that, for instance, Miyuki Maeda and Satoko Suetsuna (photo) will have to wait until 2011 for a new title after their recent victory in Denmark.  No worries as, three different Super Series champions are ready to decide who’s the best in Hong Kong: the Chinese pairings Cheng Shu / Zhao Yunlei, Wang Xiaoli / Yu Yang and Thailand’s French Open winners Duanganong Aroonkesorn / Kunchala Voravichitchaikul.

Tian Qing has also won a Super Series title with Yu Yang, except she’s now back teamed up with Pan Pan.  The twosome is still considered to be a very credible outside threat, having made it to the semis of the China Open.  First seeds Cheng Wen Hsing / Chien Yu Chin from Taipei, beaten by Ma Jin / Zhong Qianxin in the quarter-final in Shanghai, are the only team with a first round bye.  They’ll very likely meet Aroonkesorn/Voravichitchaikul in the quarters and are expected to face Russians Valeri Sorokina / Nina Vislova in the semi-finals.

First round matches of note:
Christinna Pedersen / Kamilla Rytter Juhl (DEN) vs. Hung Shih Chieh / Yang Chia Chen (TPE)
Valeri Sorokina / Nina Vislova (RUS) vs. Lita Nurlita (INA) / Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA)
Zhang Dan / Zhang Zhibo (MAC) vs. Chin Eei Hui / Goh Liu Ying (MAS)

Men’s doubles

The men’s doubles is at full force with all top pairs on hand, apart from Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen.  The world ranking leaders decided to head home after their early exit at the China Open.  “We’ll have the Christmas Holidays coming up and it will be nice to focus on something else beside badminton,” explained Mogensen to a Danish newspaper.

Unable to complete their Super Series hat trick despite the home court advantage, Cai Yun / Fu Haifeng have to restart their winning streak in neighbouring Hong Kong.  The top Chinese pair’s streak was brought to a standstill by long-time rivals and Hong Kong Open titleholders Jung Sung Jae / Lee Yong Dae, who are now four for four against Fu/Cai in this calendar year.  To settle the scores once again, both pairs have to progress to the quarter-final first.

On the other hand, a final between the two top seeded duos is still an option before the start of each tournament.  In this case, that would mean a match-up between Malaysians Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong (photo) and Indonesian pair Markis Kido/ Hendra Setiawan.  The current number two and three of the world have only met once so far this year in neighbouring Guangzhou, where they competed for a rather important bit of hardware known as Asian Games gold.

Robert Blair, who has been suspended from training at the English training centre at Milton Keynes after a row involving head coach Andy Wood earlier this year, starts his second tournament with Indonesian shuttler Flandy Limpele.  The “freshmen” won their opening fixture at the China Open, but were not experienced enough to startle Cai/Fu.  Dutchmen Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder will be their upcoming adversaries in Hong Kong.

First round matches of note:
Koo Kien Keat / Tan Boon Heong (MAS) vs. Jonas Rasmussen / Mads Conrad-Petersen (DEN)
Fang Chieh Min / Lee Sheng Mu (TPE) vs. Tony Gunawan / Howard Bach (USA)
Hong Wei / Shen Ye (CHN) vs. Jung Jae Sung / Lee Yong Dae (KOR)

Mixed doubles

Almost all the European mixed doubles decided to skip the China Open.  Only Robert Mateusiak and Nadiezda Zieba (photo) were contenders in Shanghai.  Unfortunately for the European fans who followed that event, the Polish pair had already been eliminated by home team Hanbin He / Ma Jin in the second round, leaving the quarter-final stage with all eight competitors from the Asian continent.

Mateusiak and Zieba, titleholders in Hong Kong, have a chance to redeem themselves.  However their first round opposition will come from Fang Chieh Min Fang and Wang Pei Rong and will be no walk in the park.  The clash will be a repetition of their 2009 semi-final when they defeated their opponents from Taipei 16-21 21-16 24-22, after erasing 3 match points.

Other prospects for Europe are Danes Joachim Fischer Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen, who will meet Indonesia’s Markis Kido / Lita Nurlita in round one.  And last but not least fourth-seeded duo Nathan Roberston / Jenny Wallwork who will hope they can be the first English players to win a Super Series event since Robertson won the title in Singapore last year together with Anthony Clark.

First round matches of note:
Joachim Fisher Nielsen / Christinna Pedersen  (DEN) vs.  Markis Kido /Lita Nurlita (INA)
Nathan Roberston / Jenny Wallwork (ENG) vs. Yoo Yeon Seong / Kim Min Jung (KOR)
He Hanbin / Ma Jin (CHN) vs. Sudket Prapakamol / Saralee Thoungthongkam (THA)

Badzine will be bringing you live photos all week from Badmintonphoto and will be on site with live coverage all weekend.

To see the complete draws for the 2010 Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open Super Series, CLICK HERE

About Elm Vandevorst