Pullout of India’s world No. 1 pair raises Wei Chong-Kai Wun’s hopes of a better run

Seeking morale booster: Man Wei Chong and Tee Kai Wun (left) need a good show at the Asian Championships to kickstart their season.

PETALING JAYA: The withdrawal of India’s world No. 1 Satwiksairaj Rankireddy-Chirag Shetty has given national duo Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun a glimmer of hope in the men’s doubles competition in the Asian Championships.

World No. 18 Wei Chong-Kai Wun were likely to face a daunting task against the defending champions in the second round of the tournament from April 9-14 in Ningbo, China, but now have a better chance of clearing the early hurdle after the latter were forced to pull out due to Satwiksairaj’s shoulder injury.

The Malaysian pair will be out to take advantage of the Indians’ absence and open their campaign against China’s world No. 30 Chen Boyang-Liu Yi.

A win could see Wei Chong-Kai Wun face Taiwan’s world No. 14 Lee Jhe-huei-Yang Po-hsuan in the second round.

The former are badly in need of a morale-boosting result after a disappointing year so far.

Wei Chong-Kai Wun suffered early round defeats in their first five World Tour competitions of the year before making it into the last eight of the Swiss Open in Basel last month.

The pair fell behind in the race to qualify for the Paris Olympics as a result and now have no chance of making the cut.

Wei Chong-Kai Wun were also overlooked for the Asia Team Championships in February in Shah Alam.

A good showing in Ningbo will do nicely for the duo as it could kick-start their season.

Meanwhile, home favourites Liang Weikeng-Wang Chang, South Korea’s reigning world champions Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae, Indonesia’s All-England winners Fajar Alfian-Rian Ardianto and another national pair Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik will be among those vying for the title in the absence of Satwiksairaj-Chirag.

Aaron-Wooi Yik, seeded fourth, should have no problems winning their opening match against a qualifier before playing either Taiwan’s Lee Fang-chih-Lee Fang-jen or Japan’s Kenya Mitsuhashi-Hiroki Okamura in the second round.

The other Malaysian pairs in the fray are last year’s runners-up Ong Yew Sin-Teo Ee Yi and Goh Sze Fei-Nur Izzuddin Rumsani.

Yew Sin-Ee Yi will take on Japan’s Ayato Endo-Yuta Takei in the first round while Sze Fei-Izzuddin have a tougher task against Min-hyuk-Seung-jae.

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