PETALING JAYA: The return of world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei to international badminton action and the looming presence of Olympic champion Lin Dan are set to spice things up in the Hong Kong Open from Nov 11-15.
Chong Wei will feature in the penultimate round of the 12-leg Super Series after coming out of a two-month enforced break due to a knee injury.
He aggravated the knee injury at the Japan Open, where he lost to Simon Santoso in the quarter-finals.
And the draw for the Hong Kong Open has set up the world No. 1 and Olympic champion for a mouth-watering final encounter.
Having only recovered from the injury, Chong Wei will not be putting too much expectation on making a third Hong Kong Open final appearance and he will have to look out for potential spoilers en route to living up to his top seeded tag.
Chong Wei, who opens his campaign against Dutch shuttler Dicky Palyama, will face his first test next as he is likely to take one of the three Chinese qualifiers – either Zhou Wenlong, Gong Weijie or Du Pengyu.
Chong Wei can’t rest easy in the quarter-finals either as he could meet either Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh or compatriot Muhd Hafiz Hashim.
China’s fourth seed Chen Jin or China Masters runner-up Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand awaits the top Malaysian singles player in the semi-finals.
Singles chief coach Rashid Sidek confirmed that Chong Wei would make a comeback in the Hong Kong Open as well as the China Open at the end of the month.
“He did not have to undergo surgery for the injury and that enabled him to recover faster. Chong Wei has resumed training and is doing fine,” said Rashid.
Lin Dan, who is bidding to win back-to-back Super Series titles after emerging triumphant in the French Open last week, has a tough first round opener against Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia.
Lin Dan should play either Malaysian veteran Wong Choong Hann or Kenichi Tago of Japan in the second round.
Kuan Beng Hong is down to play in the qualifying stages and he will have to get past either Thai Tanongsak Saengsomboonsuk or Hong Kong’s Ng Wei.
Beng Hong will earn a first round match-up against top Dane Peter-Gade Christensen if he survives the qualifiers.
Wong Mew Choo will also make a return after skipping the European Super Series tournaments but will be hard-pressed to survive the first round in Hong Kong as she is up against Denmark Open champion Tine Rasmussen.
Second seeds Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have drawn former world champions Howard Bach-Tony Gunawan of the United States in the first round but should win the encounter.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who also have Indonesians Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki-Rian Sukmawan and Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah in their path, will have to cross swords with world champions Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun in the semi-finals.