KUALA LUMPUR: The erratic Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong are in for another tough ride after being drawn to meet the new South Korean combination of Ko Sung-hyun-Lee Yong-dae in the first round of the Denmark Open, which starts from Oct 16-21 in Odense.
The national pair, ranked sixth in the world, have failed to impress since being given a second chance by the BA of Malaysia (BAM) last month.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong, who have until the World Championships next year to prove themselves, were disappointing in the Japan Open, their first tournament since the London Olympics.
Although they did well to make the final, they lost tamely to Korean youngsters Kim Ki-jung-Kim Sa-rang.
But national doubles coach Tan Kim Her believes that Sung-hyun-Yong-dae are beatable, “provided Kien Keat-Boon Heong drop their defensive mentality”.
“This new Korean combination is just as dangerous,” said Kim Her.
“I believe Kien Kean-Boon Heong can pull off a win because Sung-hyun is not as stable as Yong-dae’s previous partner – Chung Jae-sung.
“Unlike Jae-sung, who is very solid defensively, Sung-hyun is a more attacking player. Together with Yong-dae, they make a very strong offensive pair.
“That is why I want my boys to play a smart game … go on the offensive instead and put the Koreans on the backfoot.”
If Kien Keat-Boon Heong can get past the Koreans, they may have a clear path to the semi-finals, with only Thailand’s Bodin Isaara-Maneepong Jongjit and Indonesia’s Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra the potential spoilers.
Malaysia’s other pairs – Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong and professionals Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock – face easy first round games.
Japan Open semi-finalists Thien How-Wee Kiong face Russia’s Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov while Teik Chai-Soon Hock meet Dutchmen Jorrit De Ruiter-Dave Khodabux.
In the men’s singles, world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei will have to wait a little longer for a rematch with arch rival Lin Dan as the Chinese ace is not competing following his wedding recently.
However, top seed Chong Wei will have to be wary of defending champion Chen Long, the second seed.
The other Malaysian singles shuttlers are Chong Wei Feng, Liew Daren, Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Tan Chun Seang.