Kisona faces big challenge to restore confidence at French Open

PETALING JAYA: The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) will proceed with their plan to enter an off-form S. Kisona (pic) for the coming World Tour legs in Europe.

For now, the 23-year-old’s participation in the French Open in Paris from Oct 26-31 is confirmed, but she could also make the cut for the Denmark Open in Odense next week as she’s currently second on the reserve list.

But based on Kisona’s performance in the Sudirman Cup and Uber Cup, she’s not expected to go far in these top-tier competitions.

Even in Paris, the world No. 53 was dealt an intimidating draw as she was pitted against world No. 8 An Se-young of South Korea.

In March, Kisona was supposed to play in the Orleans Masters but was sent back to Malaysia instead due to her lacklustre first-round exit at the All-England. She lost 6-21, 7-21 to Thailand’s Busanan Ongbamrungphan.

She would bounce back later by winning the sixth-tier Spanish International Challenge in June.

Women’s singles head coach Indra Wijaya admitted that while Kisona is clearly not in the best state of mind to compete, she still had to capitalise on every single playing opportunity that she could get in order to boost her ranking position.

“I can confirm that Kisona will be playing in the French Open, and hopefully secure a start in Denmark too,” said Indra.

“She had to play for a couple of reasons. Firstly, she needs quality match practice before the World Championships (in Huelva, Spain, from Dec 12-19). This is her first world meet and we want her to prepare well for it.

“Secondly, we don’t really have many options at the moment due to the limited number of tournaments.

“We’re grateful that Kisona, despite not being highly-ranked, is still able to make it for top events like the French Open.

“These tournaments may be out of her depth, but it still makes a huge difference to her world ranking. We need her to collect as many ranking points as possible before the year end. Once she has moved up, then we can start choosing tournaments that match her capacity.”

Indra stressed that the coaches are also aware that another heavy defeat could hurt Kisona’s morale further.

But they want her to take this as a challenge to revive her dwindling fortunes.

“There’re pros and cons for sure. In such top tournaments, she’s bound to play tough opponents right from the start and could possibly suffer a demoralising defeat,” explained Indra.

“But we should also look at things on the bright side. If she can take this big challenge and try to overcome it, she would probably have her confidence restored. It doesn’t have to be a win, because we clearly know she’s not there yet.

“All we want from her is to show fighting spirit and give her opponents a run for their money. That’s all that matters.”

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