Auckland: After Lin Dan suffered his third first-round exit of the season at the Badminton Asia Championships last Wednesday, Super Dan, or a.k.a the greatest badminton player of all time, has decided to play at the New Zealand open that will be held from May 1st to May 6th, which will serve as his primary tune-up for the Thomas Cup Finals in May.
Lin Dan will take on Japan’s Takuma Ueda in the opening round, and, as the biggest star in the tournament, he is expecting to face Jonatan Christie of Indonesia in the final.
The Rio Olympic mixed doubles silver medalists Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying will spearhead Malaysia’s challenge together with Daren Liew, who just qualified by merit for this year’s Nanjing World Championships.
Besides Daren Liew, Malaysia also sent Chong Wei Feng, Cheam June Wei, Chong Yee Han to the men’s singles event.
In men’s doubles, two former World No. 1 players Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia and Yoo Yeon Seong of Korea will form a Malaysia/Korea partnership. This will be the first time the duo plays as a men’s pair at any international tournaments this year. Tan Boon Heong paired with Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia in 2017 before their partnership came to an end early this year when Setiawan decided to rejoin the Indonesia Badminton Association (PBSI) to help strengthen the Indonesian Thomas Cup squad.
The tournament will kick off its qualifying rounds on Tuesday at the North Shore Events Centre and offers a total prize money of USD$120,000.