Koreans a major obstacle at Denmark Open (pic)

The Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun partnership has been broken up but the new pairings will still be tough to overcome at the Denmark Open.

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.The Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun partnership has been broken up but the new pairings will still be tough to overcome at the Denmark Open.

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.


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