Withdrawal of Chinese and redraw do not make it any easier for Hafiz

KUALA LUMPUR: In the absence of Lee Chong Wei, it could be an awfully quiet outing for Malaysia in the men’s singles competition of the Denmark Open, which begins tomorrow in Odense.

A revitalised Mohd Hafiz Hashim is hoping to create a buzz by scoring his best result in a Super Series event this year.

But the last-minute withdrawal of top Chinese players does not make it any easier for him. With world champion Lin Dan, Chen Jin and Bao Chunlai and some of the top China players in the other events out of the championships, the organisers had to conduct a redraw in all the events except for the men’s doubles.

The unseeded Hafiz is now in the same half of the draw as Chinese youngster Chen Long, second seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia, Dutch Open champion Chetan Anand of India and compatriot Wong Choong Hann.

Hafiz opens his campaign tomorrow against England’s Rajiv Ouseph, who defeated Choong Hann in the Dutch Open quarter-finals on Friday.

A win will probably give Hafiz a match against Choong Hann in a quarter which also has Chen Long. The two-time former world junior is the only men’s singles representative from China in the tournament.

Danish star Peter-Gade Christen­sen is the top seed and in his half of the draw are compatriots Jan O. Jorgensen, Joachim Persson and Indonesia’s Simon Santoso.

World No. 22nd Hafiz said that he hoped to justify the faith that coach Hendrawan had in him.

Besides the Denmark Open, Hafiz will also get to compete in the remaining three Super Series tournaments in France, Hong Kong and China.

“I am progressing well under Hendrawan. Hopefully, I will be able to achieve some good results in the Super Series, starting with the Denmark Open. I have not made the quarter-finals in the series this year,” said Hafiz.

Hendrawan said the last four Super Series tournaments would be a good gauge on Hafiz’s return to form.

“He has showed signs of lifting his game in smaller tournaments. The challenges in the Super Series are tougher and the results will show where he really stands,” he said.

Hafiz’s best result in an international tournament this year was a semi-final outing in the Taiwan Open this month.

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