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Monday January 14, 2008

Missing Christensen


KUALA LUMPUR: Denmark's Peter Gade-Christensen will not defend the men's singles title in the Malaysian Open, which begins on Wednesday at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil. 

He did not arrive with the Danish team yesterday. He remained at home to be with one of his close family members who is ill. 

In the absence of Gade-Christensen, coach Thomas Stuer Lauridsen said that Denmark would be happy if any one of their players reached the semi-finals. 

“Peter had always loved to play in Malaysia but he was sad that this time he could not make it. But it will be a bad idea to come here because it is only right for him to be with his family members at this time,” said Lauridsen. 

“He may return to competition at the Korean Open next week.” 

Gade-Christensen has never failed to make a trip to Malaysia since he won his first Malaysian Open title in 1998. 

In fact, he made his most memorable outing in Malaysia last year. He was warded in hospital with severe migraine upon his arrival but went on to win the title. 

Lauridsen said that Denmark were more focused on doing well in the European Championships, Thomas Cup Finals and the Beijing Olympics this year. 

“We have four good men's doubles pairs. And our women's singles, Tine (Rasmussen), is playing well. We will be happy if they can make it to the semi-finals of the Malaysian Open. But our priorities are not the back-to-back Malaysian and Korean Opens. We want them to do well in the three big ones – European, Thomas Cup and Olympics,” he said. 

Without Gade-Christensen, the path for top seed Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia is clearer in the top half of the draw. 

The Dane was tipped to meet either Nusa Mahsuri's Mohd Roslin Hashim or KLRC Bhd's Sairul Amar Ayob in the second round and was drawn to play against either Chong Wei or Taufik in the semi-finals. 

If everything goes according to the book, Chong Wei and Taufik are expected to clash in the quarter-finals. 

For the record, Gade-Christensen is the second big name to miss action in the men's singles event. World number one Lin Dan of China is also giving the Malaysian Open the skip. 

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