PETALING JAYA: Singles shuttler S. Kisona has a good reason to prove herself at the Spain Masters in Huelva from May 18-23 after an uninspiring performance at last month’s All-England.
But the draw has made it harder for the 22-year-old – as fate would have it, world No. 60 Kisona has world No. 4 and home favourite Carolina Marin in her path.
Kisona will take on world No. 58 Ksenia Polikarpova of Israel in the first round and a win will likely pit her against reigning Olympic champion Marin next.
The Philippines SEA Games gold medallist can count herself unlucky, considering three-time world champion Marin is the only highly-ranked star in the 32-player field.
Most top players skipped the Spain Masters because they needed to make their way to Kuala Lumpur by May 18, a week earlier for the Malaysian Open from May 25-30 due to the Covid-19 protocols.
Marin is the favourite to win the Spain Masters, which is held for the first time at the Carolina Marin Sports Palace in her hometown Huelva. The venue will also host the World Championships from Nov 29-Dec 5.
On paper, Kisona is not expected to beat Marin but head coach Indra Wijaya is hoping for his charge to put up a better fight against her more illustrious opponents.
This comes after Kisona was outclassed 6-21,7-21 by world No. 13 Busanan Ongbamrungphan of Thailand, resulting in her being sent home although she was scheduled to play in the Orleans Masters in France the week after.
Kisona had also lost to Indian players – former world No. 1 Saina Nehwal and reigning world champion P. V. Sindhu in the first round and last 16 of the Thailand Open I and Thailand Open II in January.
World No. 121 Goh Jin Wei, the other Malaysian in the fray, didn’t get an easy draw either.
The two-time world junior champion was drawn in the bottom half where she could face second seed and world No. 35 Line Kjaersfeldt of Denmark.
But if Jin Wei manages to overcome the biggest hurdle, she stands a great chance of making it all the way to the final.
And If Jin Wei can play anywhere to her previous best, she certainly has what it takes to beat the likes of world No. 46 Sabrina Jacquet of Switzerland and No. 37 Line Christophersen of Denmark, whom she could cross paths with in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively.