KUALA LUMPUR: It is unlikely that there will be 10 Malaysians again in the semi-finals of the Malaysian Masters this time around. Nevertheless, coach Wong Choong Hann wants to see his players step up from the tough draws before them.
Last year, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong, Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi (men’s doubles), Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles), Liew Daren (men’s singles) and Goh Jin Wei (women’s singles) all thrived with the support of the home crowd to enter the semi-finals of the Malaysian Masters.
But looking at this year’s draw, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) coaching director said that a similar feat would be very difficult.
Looking at the draw alone, newly-crowned SEA Games champions Aaron-Wooi Yik will have to take on their seniors and Olympic silver medallists Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong in the opening round. World No. 19 Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi will have a tough first-round draw against India’s world No. 12 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty.
Upcoming pair Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani should be able to clear the opening round against a pair from the qualifiers and could spring a surprise against Taiwan’s world No. 7 Lee Yang-Wang Chi-lin.
Daren will have to fight his way through the qualifiers while Jin Wei is still recovering from her colectomy surgery, when she had part of colon removed in October.
Her anointed successor Soniia Cheah will also have to fight her way from the qualifiers like Daren.
Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying should be able to get through to the quarter-finals before facing their first real test from world No. 4 Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai of Thailand.
World No. 8 Goh Soon Huat-Shevon Lai Jemie will also have a tricky opening round against China’s world No. 13 He Jiting-Du Yue of China.
Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing should be able to get past the first round against Indonesia’s world No. 72 Ricky Karandasuwardi-Pia Bernadet but will be up against second seeds Wang Yilyu-Huang Dongping of China in the second round.
Even top singles shuttler Lee Zii Jia will have his hands full from the start as he is up against world No. 4 Anders Antonsen of Denmark in the opening round.
“The draw is very tough so to expect another big outing like last year is not possible. I am very interested in some of the opening round draws for Zii Jia, Aaron-Wooi Yik and Shevon-Soon Huat, ” said Choong Hann.
“I would like to see Zii Jia’s progress and how he compares to a player of Antonsen’s quality, while Aaron-Wooi Yik will have to establish themselves against their seniors V Shem-Wee Kiong.”
“With Shevon-Soon Huat, I hope to see them overcome the China pair.
“All these matches are tight 50/50 battles that can go either way, so the challenge is for them to make sure they can persevere and show the desire to win.
“When the game can go either way, I want to see how they fare and make the win happen.”
What do you think of this article?
75% readers found this article useful