PETALING JAYA: Top seed Lee Chong Wei faces a major test of his resolve in his bid to secure a first-ever title for Malaysia at the World Championships in Hyde-rabad from Aug 10-16 after being drawn to face defending champion Lin Dan in the semi-finals.
Chong Wei, whose previous best achievement at the world meet was a bronze in Anaheim in 2005, triumphed over Lin Dan in their last Super Series meeting in the Swiss Open final in April.
However, Chong Wei has never managed to get the better of Lin Dan in crucial matches.
He lost in straight games to Lin Dan in the Olympic Games final in Beijing last year and also in the semi-finals of the Sudirman Cup in Guangzhou in May.
Even then, it will not be easy for Chong Wei to reach the last four as he has to negotiate several tricky hurdles based on the draw released last night.
Chong Wei, who opens against Dieter Dromke of Germany, should clear the first two rounds before a potential banana skin awaits him in the form of Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh.
The Vietnamese has the potential to send Chong Wei packing to an embarrassing third round defeat, having bundled out the Malaysian in the second round of the Singapore Open in June.
The quarter-finals should see Chong Wei taking on sixth seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro and he will need no reminding that it was the Indonesian who ended his hopes of glory on home ground at the last world meet two years ago.
Lin Dan, who is seeded fifth, has to get past compatriot Bao Chunlai in the third round to set up a meeting against third seed Peter-Gade Christensen next.
Malaysia’s second representative Wong Choong Hann will have an uphill task getting past the third round as he is slated to face second seed Chen Jin, a player he has not beaten in recent years.
Also in Choong Hann’s half of the draw are South Korean Park Sung-hwan and Indonesians Si-mon Santoso and Taufik Hidayat, the 2004 Athens Olympic champion.
It is not a good draw either for second seeds Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, who are Malaysia’s best bets to secure the men’s doubles crown.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong are likely to face Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark in the last eight and, if they clear that hurdle, they should meet South Korean fourth seeds Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung in the semi-finals.
Veterans Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah play 2005 world champions Howard Bach-Tony Gunawan of United States in the opening round and are in the lower half of the draw with Kien Keat-Boon Heong.
The country’s second ranked pair of Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif, the eighth seeds, will have to beat top seeds Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan for the first time in their career if they harbour hopes of making it to the semi-finals.
Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui, the first Malaysian women’s doubles pair to be top seeded at the world meet, should have no problem setting up a quarter-final meeting against Olympic champions Du Jing-Yu Yang of China.
In their half of the draw are South Korean fourth seeds Ha Jung-eun-Kim Min-jung and China’s eighth seeds Zhang Yawen-Zhao Tingting.