DENMARK OPEN: World No 1 not distracted by wedding preparations
LEE Chong Wei, despite being kept busy with his wedding preparations, will be the player to beat in the Denmark Open when the premier super series event begins in Odense today.
But unlike Chong Wei, men's doubles Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong will be hunted down by their opponents.
Chong Wei will marry former women's international Wong Mew Choo and the wedding will be held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) over two days on Nov 9-10 but the World No 1 continues with his training.
He will only miss the French Open on Oct 23-28 but he has provisionally entered for the China Open on Nov 13-18 which is just three days after his wedding.
Although China's World No 3 Chen Long will be aiming to defend his title, he is likely to face -- in Chong Wei -- an opponent who has been playing without pressure but still remains on top of his game since the London Olympics.
Chong Wei won the Japan Open without conceding a game on his return to competition last month after the Olympics and it will be hard for Chen Long to stop him.
The Malaysian opens his campaign against up-and-coming Danish star Viktor Axelsen, touted as the successor to Peter Gade Christensen, before an expected meeting with Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand. Chong Wei, assuming he advances, will find Sho Sasaki of Japan awaiting him in the quarter-finals before meeting another Japanese, Kenichi Tago or Chen Jin of China in the semi-finals.
The Malaysian Olympic silver medallist should clear all the hurdles without much problems but it will be Chen Long who can take him the distance.
However, an upset is unlikely and Chong Wei should win the title he last captured in 2005.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong will have their backs against the wall when they open against South Korea's new combination of Ko Sunh Hyun-Lee Yong Dae, who are already regarded as gold medal contenders in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
So, the Malaysian pair will have to battle for their survival in Odense as they will be under immense pressure due to their deteriorating form. They need to show marked improvement to prove that the call to split them has been premature.
Should Kien Keat-Boon Heong overcome the Koreans, they are expected to meet Denmark's Rasmus Bonde-Mads Condrad Petersen, and assuming they progress, meet Thailand's Issara Bodin-Maneepong Jongjit in the last eight.
Tan Wee Kiong-Hoon Thien How have been making the most in tournaments where world class pairs were missing and the Denmark Open is where they can showcase their real quality and announce they are a pair to be reckoned with. They play Russia's Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov in the first round, Japan's Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa in the second and must then overcome Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan in the last eight if they hope for a dream semi-final clash against Olympic champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China.
Mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, who won the Japan Open last month, will be battling the world's best in Odense but the victory in Tokyo should have boosted their confidence. They meet Dutch pair Dave Khodabaux-Selena Piek in the opening round before a likely meeting with Yoo Yeon Seong-Jang Ye Na of South Korea and then a quarter-final match with Olympic bronze medallists Joachim Fischer Nielsen-Christinna Pedersen of Denmark.