V Shem will have a last fling with Khim Wah as a partner at Copenhagen. -RAJES PAUL/The Star
PETALING JAYA: The withdrawal of defending champions Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia have turned the men’s doubles event into an open affair.
But former doubles ace Razif Sidek does not think the Malaysians – Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem and Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong – could go far.
“They may create one or two upsets but I cannot imagine any of them winning the title. I have seen nothing from Khim Wah-V Shem after winning the Malaysian Open,” said Razif.
In the doubles, Razif said although the Koreans have now put themselves in the driving seat, it is still difficult to pinpoint a clear winner.
South Korea will parade three pairs – second seeds Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong, fifth seeds Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang and 12th seeds Ko Sung-hyun-Shin Baek-cheol.
“I was banking on Ahsan-Hendra to defend the title but unfortunately, Ahsan is injured (back injury),” said Razif.
“On paper, the Koreans are looking good but it is still an open game. Denmark, China and Indonesia can still turn things around.
“Yong-dae has no medal to show (after finishing as the runners-up twice with Chang Jae-sung) and that alone will be his motivation.”
Razif added that Denmark’s Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen; China’s former All-England champions Liu Xiaoling-Qiu Zihan; Indonesia’s Markis Kido-Gideon Frenaldi; Taiwanese Lee Sheng-mu-Tsai Chia-hsin; and Japan’s Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa are also contenders.
“I guess this makes it quite interesting this year,” he added.
And the best bet to bring honour to the country is still – Lee Chong Wei.
Former international Kwan Yoke Meng believes that the world No. 1 can finally land his elusive world title.
Yoke Meng, who played for Malaysia at the 1991 edition in Copenhagen, said the main threat will come from Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark.
Barring any upsets, the duo are likely to cross swords in the semi-finals.
“Jan is playing at home and is a fighter. He has shown vast improvement and is making less mistakes,” said Yoke Meng.
“In the past, he used to squander his leads. I do not see this yo-yo form so much now. He is more consistent and that can pose a problem for Chong Wei.”
En route to facing Jorgensen, top seed Chong Wei may come up against India’s P. Kashyap, Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana, China’s Wang Zhengming or Kento Momota of Japan.
Yoke Meng feels the Indian would be the most dangerous.
“He showed great fighting spirit in winning the Commonwealth Games gold. He is a runner and his defensive game is admirable. You must have great resolve to beat him.”
From the bottom half of the draw, Yoke Meng said second seed Chen Long of China is the favourite to reach the final.
“Chen Long has played exceptionally well in the past to beat Chong Wei. Lately his form has taken a dive but one should never rule him out,” added Yoke Meng.