Badminton

Published: Tuesday December 24, 2013 MYT 8:48:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday December 24, 2013 MYT 8:57:05 PM

Another title beckons for Chong Wei in Korean Open

Lee Chong Wei (right) shakes hands with Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto after defeating the latter in the final of the BWF Super Series Finals in KL recently, will again start as the favourite in the Korean Open beginning Jan 7. - BERNAMA

Lee Chong Wei (right) shakes hands with Indonesia's Tommy Sugiarto after defeating the latter in the final of the BWF Super Series Finals in KL recently, will again start as the favourite in the Korean Open beginning Jan 7. - BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei should have no problems getting off to a flying start in 2014 as he has been given a relatively easy draw for the Korean Open from Jan 7-12 in Seoul.

The 31-year-old who bagged seven Super Series titles this year, including the season ending Super Series Finals title, will start off against South Korean Son Wan-ho in the first round.

Although the Korean has beaten Chong Wei once, en route to India Open title last year, he is still coming back from a long absence following military service and should not pose too much trouble.

Chong Wei’s first real task will come in the quarter-finals as he is expected to meet China’s Du Pengyu, who has slipped four rankings to No. 7 in the world.

A win over the Hubei native will probably pit him against fast-improving Dane – Jan O Jorgensen in the semi-finals.

World No. 2 Chen Long, who failed to qualify for the Super Series Finals, is seeded second and opens his account against a qualifier.

Besides Chong Wei, the only other Malaysian in the main draw will be SEA Games flop Chong Wei Feng after Liew Daren withdrew at the eleventh hour.

Wei Feng, who suffered a shocker in Naypyitaw this month, losing in the first round to Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon, will take on towering Russian – Vladimir Ivanov in the first round. A win will see him set up a meeting with fifth seed Kenichi Tago of Japan next.

Two other Malaysians – independents Tan Chun Seang and Chan Kwong Beng – will start from the qualifiers.

In men’s doubles, world No. 8 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong will have a chance to avenge their Super Series Finals group match defeat to South Korea’s Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang.

The pair who are seeded seventh will take on China’s Kang Jun-Liu Cheng in the first round but have second seeds Ki-jung-Sa-rang awaiting in the quarter-finals.

World No. 7 Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong who have endured yet another poor year, will start off against a qualifier and look good to reach at least the quarter-finals, where they will face third seeds Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan of China.

Goh V Shem-Lim Khim Wah who are reunited for the third time should also enjoy an easy start, having been drawn against England’s Chris Langridge-Peter Mills in the first round.

In mixed doubles, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying face a tricky first round tie against Thailand’s Maneepong Jongjit-Sapsiree Taerattanachai.

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