KUALA LUMPUR: A redraw for the men’s singles competition of the China Masters in Changzhou next week may have taken away the smile from world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.
The top seeded Malaysian now finds world champion Lin Dan of China, who is seeded fourth, in his half of the draw.
The Badminton World Federation (BWF) confirmed that yesterday that they opted for a redraw following the withdrawal of world No. 20 Wacha Przemyslaw of Poland.
Usually, the BWF do not conduct a redraw when one or two players pull out of the competition or if they feel that the absence of one player will not affect the draw.
The BWF event manager, V. Venugopal, said: “The tournament referee felt the need for a redraw. They had a good reason to do it and it was carried out yesterday. Only the men’s singles competition was affected.”
National coach Misbun Sidek felt that the redraw would not really affect Chong Wei as he still needed to stay focused on the tasks in the early rounds.
“Yes, the previous draw was much more favourable to Chong Wei. But in the redraw, there are still younger players waiting to scalp him and it will not be easy from the first round,” he said.
Chong Wei will take on Chinese youngster Lu Qicheng in the opening round and he cannot expect to have a walk in the park.
The others in his quarter are talented Thai youngster Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk, Denmark’s Joa-chim Persson and another young Chinese talent, Du Pengyu.
Lin Dan is in the same quarter as South Korean Park Sung-hwan, Hong Kong’s Hu Yun and Taiwanese Hsieh Yu-hsin.
The other half of the draw with second seed Chen Jin are his Chinese compatriot, Bao Chunlai, Dane Peter-Gade Christensen, Thai Boonsak Ponsana and Malaysian veteran Wong Choong Hann.