PETALING JAYA: The South Koreans have no problems chopping and changing their men’s doubles lineup and it is the newly formed pair of Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong who may spoil Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong’s party at the Denmark Open from Oct 15-20 in Odense.
Last year, Kien Keat-Boon Heong gave a good account of themselves to beat the then-newly formed Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun partnership en route to finishing runners-up.
Yong-dae-Sung-hyun had gone on to forge a strong partnership, winning eight titles over the course of the year and are ranked No. 1 in the world.
But the pair have been split by the Korean Badminton Association (KBA) following a string of unfavourable results, especially in the World Championships in August, where they were beaten in the second round by Taiwan’s Lee Sheng-mu-Tsai Chia-hsin.
Sung-hyun will now partner Shin Baek-cheol, who had previously partnered Yeon-seong.
Still, the Koreans are an indomitable force, especially with Yong-dae and will be the major obstacle for fourth seeds Kien Keat-Boon Heong whom they are expected to meet in the quarter-finals.
The Malaysians, who have slipped to No. 5 in the world will however need to negotiate past Dutch duo Ruud Bosch-Koen Ridder in the first round, with either Germans Michael Fuchs-Johannes Schoettler or India’s Manu Attri-B. Sumeeth Reddy awaiting in the second round.
Besides Kien Keat-Boon Heong, world No. 13 Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong are also in the fray and will start against England’s Chris Langridge-Peter Mills.
Meanwhile in the men’s singles, world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei should have an easy run to the final barring any upsets.
He’ll take on a qualifier first before meeting either Marc Zwiebler of Germany or Danish youngster Viktor Axelsen in the second round.
His quarter-final opponent is expected to be Danish No. 1 and fifth seed Jan O Jorgensen, while his real challenge should come in the form of world No. 3 Du Pengyu in the semi-finals.
In contrast, Chong Wei’s understudies - Chong Wei Feng and Liew Daren face tougher first round matches, against sixth seed Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam and India’s P. Kashyap respectively.
Two other Malaysians - independent shuttlers Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Tan Chun Seang will start from the qualifiers.
Malaysia also have mixed pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying in the fray but the fifth seeds are going through a poor patch and are likely to struggle against Thailand’s Sudket Prapakamol-Saralee Thoungthongkorn in the first round.