Seoul: Former World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia who was originally handed a first round draw to take on defending champion Qiao Bin of China, has pulled out from the Korea Open which kicks off on Tuesday.
According to the draw, Lee will be replaced with qualifier Kazumasa Sakai of Japan in the men’s first round.
On the other hand, the current World No. 1 player, Son Wan-Ho of South Korea who has yet to win a tournament since becoming the World No. 1 player in May, will try to cementing his spot among the sport’s very best men’s singles player in front of home crowd. The withdrawals of Lee Chong Wei and Viktor Axelsen have given Son a higher chance of clinching his first Superseries title of the season. However, Chou Tien-Chen of Taiwan might provide a stern test for Son in the semis
In women’s singles, the reigning women’s singles world champion Nozomi Okuhara is gunning for her second major title in a row at the Korea Open. She will take on Zhang Beiwen of United States in the opener.
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-Ying who skipped the World Championship to play in the Universiade that was held in Taipei, is also the heavy favorite for the women’s title. Tai will meet Saena Kawakami in the first round, and could face No. 5 seeds P. V. Sindhu of India in the quarter-finals.
In men’s doubles, Lim Khim Wah of Malaysia and Yoo Yeon-Seong of Korea are making things really interesting. The Malaysia/Korea scratch partnership will undoubtedly steal a lot of spotlight from their famous counterparts such as No. 1 seeds Mathias Boe/Carsten Mogensen of Denmark and No. 2 seeds Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia in the men’s doubles event.