KUCHING, Apr 1 – World No.1 and defending champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei is expected to make a winning start when he goes down to face world No. 14 Quseph Rajiv of England in the first round of the men’s singles at the Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open.
The BWF World Superseries tournament which offers prize money of US$600,000 (RM2.7 million) will be held from April 4-9 at the Stadium Perpaduan Negri Sarawak in Petra Jaya here. Based on the draws as listed in bwfworldsuperseries.com, if Chong Wei wins, he will then face the winner of the match between Denmark’s Antonsen Anders and Hong Kong’s Hu Yun in the second round.
China’s Li Dan who is seventh in the BWF World Rankings is also expected to have an easy passage in the first round as he is drawn to play against India’s H.S Prannoy and the winner will face either Thailand’s Saensomboonsuk or Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Jen Hao in the second round.
World No. 2 player Jorgensen Jo of Denmark will face Indonesia’s Christie Jonatan in the first round and the winner will face either Chinese Taipei’s Chou Tien Chen or Denmark’s Vittingghus Hans-Kristian Solberg in the next round. World No. 3 China’s Chen Long will square off with Hong Kong’s Wei Nan in the first round and if he wins he will face either Indonesia’s Kuncoro Sony Dwi or China’s Huang Yuxiang in the second round.
Fourth ranked Axelsen Viktor of Denmark will face the winner of qualification one, while fifth ranked Son Wan Ho of South Korea will face the winner of qualification two and sixth ranked China’s Tian Houwei will face the winner of the qualification round three.
Meanwhile, three Malaysian players – Daren Liew, Chong Wei Feng and Zulkiffli Zulfadil – will have to fight hard in thhe qualification round for three slots in the first round of the men’s singles. Daren will face India’s B. Sai Praneeth, Wei Feng against South Korea’s Lee Dong Keun and Zulkiffli against Indonesia’s Mustofa Ihsan Maulana.
In the women’s singles, defending champion Intanon Ratchanok of Thailand will face Japan’s Sato Sayaka and if the No. 7 player wins, she will face either Thailand’s Onbamrunggphan or Chinese Taipei’s Hsu Ya Ching in the second round. Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei will face Singapore Liang Xiaoyu while world No. 2 Carolina Marin of Spain, formerly world No.1 and 2016 Olympics gold medalist, will face Hong Kong’s Yip Pui Yin.
Third rankinged Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea will square off with Japan’s Mitani Minatsu, while fourth ranked Japan’s Yamaguchi Akane will face India’s Saina Nehwal. Fifth ranked China’s Sun Yu will take on Malaysia’s Sonia Cheah, sixth ranked Pusarla V. Sindhu will take on China’s Chen Yufei and No. 8, China’s He Bingjia will be meeting Hong Kong’s Cheung Ngan Yi. Another Malaysian player Goh Jin Wei will play against the winner of qualification three.
In last year’s tournament, Chong Wei emerged champion in the men’s singles event, Thailand’s Intanon Ratchanok won the women’s singles title, South Korea’s Kim Gi Jung and Kim Sa Ran took the men’s doubles title, China’s Tang Yuanting and Yu Yang grabbed the women’s double and the Indonesian pair of Ahmad Tontowi and Liliyana Natsir were the mixed doubles title winner. — Bernama