Former great Park Joo-bong feels that a long break between matches could either be a boon or a bane.
And that’s why he has warned Malaysia’s top men’s doubles pair Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong not to be too happy about the three days’ rest they are enjoying in the World Championships.
Due to several withdrawals, Kien Keat-Boon Heong have been handed a free ride into the third round.
They will take on Hong Kong’s Lee Chun Hei-Ng Ka Long for a place in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
“Koo and Tan have been handed the best draw. They are very lucky … but then, most of the seeded players who had a day’s rest (on Monday) struggled in their matches today (yesterday). And Koo-Tan will have had three days’ rest …,” said Joo-bong.
He pointed out how top seeds Xu Chen-Ma Jin of China survived a harrowing time before beating Denmark’s Mads Pieler Kolding-Kamilla Rytter Juhl 18-21, 21-17, 21-13.
“The break was bad for some of the seeded players. I hope that Koo-Tan will take their chances well,” said Joo-bong, who is aware that the world meet is the final platform for the duo to prove themselves.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) have set the duo a target of reaching the final. If they fail to achieve that, they will either be dropped or split up.
“It’s difficult to comment on this matter. It all depends on these players. If BAM plan to pair them up with younger players, then Koo and Tan must be disciplined first. If not, this move will backfire,” said Joo-bong.
He also picked Mohd Ahsan-Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia and Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun of South Korea as the favourites for the men’s doubles title.
“Fortunately, for the others, Ahsan-Hendra and Yong-dae-Sung-hyun may meet each other as early as in the quarter-finals,” said Joo-bong.
“China’s Fu Haifeng-Cai Yun may be four-time world champions but they’ve struggled lately. I’d rather pick China’s reigning All-England champions Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan as the darkhorses in this tournament.
“Do not rule out Denmark’s Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen either.”
Asked about Japan’s hopes, he said that their trumpcards were fourth seeds Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa but “it will be quite difficult for them to win it (men’s doubles)”.