PETALING JAYA: Lee Chong Wei showed in his triumph at the just concluded Macau Open that his game was not affected by the disappointment of a quarter-final exit in the World Championships in Hyderabad the preceding week.
But it will be a major test of his resolve when he takes part in a Super Series tournament, the China Masters, next month.
With the exception of former Olympic and world champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, all the top ranked shuttlers have entered for the seventh leg of the Series, which will be held in Changzhou from Sept 15-20.
Chong Wei, who completed a year as the No. 1 in the world rankings yesterday, skipped the tournament last year because he did not want to risk aggravating a hand injury.
Unlike the Macau Open where Chong Wei had it easier to emerge as champion after compatriot Wong Choong Hann eliminated World Championship runner-up Chen Jin in the semi-finals, it will be harder to live up to his top billing in Chanzhou.
Chong Wei faces the prospect of having to take on three-time world champion Lin Dan in the semi-finals as the Chinese will be tagged as the fourth seed.
And the bet will certainly be on Lin Dan, who also skipped the event last year after his Olympic win, to chalk up another home triumph.
But Chong Wei may bow out earlier than in the semi-finals as he may draw defending champion and fifth seed Sony Dwi Kuncoro in his quarter. The Indonesian sent Chong Wei packing in the World Championships. Malaysia’s only other representative for the men’s singles in the China Masters is Choong Hann.
Chief coach Rashid Sidek said that they had opted not to field the other players from the elite and back-up squads.
“There is no point sending them as they will be hard-pressed to clear the early rounds,” he said.
“We expect the China Masters to draw all the top players as they have ample time to prepare after the World Championships.
“It will also not be easy playing Chinese players on their own turf. Bao Chunlai will not be seeded as he is not among the top-eight ranked players. He will make life difficult for any of his opponent, especially after having suffered a first-round defeat at the World Championships.”
A top-class field will also feature in the men’s doubles competition and Malaysia will have only two entries — Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong and Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif.
Indonesians Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan, who skipped the World Championships recently, have confirmed their participation along with world champions Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun of China and South Korea’s Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung.
It will present the opportunity for Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who emerged as champions in the Macau Open, to put up a better show in the China Masters. They were eliminated in the second round last year.
In the women’s doubles, Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui, who were replaced by China’s Zhao Yunlei-Cheng Shu as the world No. 1 last week, are the only Malaysian pair in the fray.