Fuzhou: The 2015 China Open Super Series Premier tournament that featuring a strong line-up of world class shuttlers has kicked off in Fuzhou, China on Tuesday.
Young Chinese men’s singles shuttlers such as Qiao Bin, Shi Yuqi, Guo Kai; mixed doubles pair Liu Yuchen/Ou Dongni have all made it through qualifying on Tuesday to reach the main draw.
This year’s China Open that pays out USD $700,000 in total prize money, has become a very important stop for badminton players who are looking to qualify for next month’s Dubai Word Super Series Finals.
Most importantly, Badminton fans around the world are anticipating a possible mouth-watering Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan showdown in the men’s semi-finals.
Former world number one, now unseeded Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei who received a doping ban and missed last year’s China Open, is expected to meet his long-time rival five-time world champion and dual Olympic gold medalist Lin Dan to seal a spot in the finals.
However, both Lee and Lin will need to see off some big name players before both meet each other in the semi-finals.
Lee Chong Wei will play No. 6 seed Chou Tien Chen of Chinese Taipei in the second round, and possibly No. 2 seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark in the quarter-finals. While Lin will play his opener against qualifier Qiao Bin, and could face the like of defending champion Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth in the quarter-finals.
World No. 1 Chen Long who is the overwhelming favorite to claim the China Open, was placed in the upper half of the draw. Danish Viktor Axelsen who beat Lin Dan twice this season will be his biggest opponent on the way to finals.
In the women’s singles, defending champion Saina Nehwal from India will be relieved to be in the opposite half of the draw to Carolina Marin of Spain, meaning she can’t meet the world number one until the final. However, Nehwal will have to square off the main threat in her half, No. 7 seed Wang Yihan in quarter-finals; while Marin could face potential opponent the No. 5 seed Wang Shixian in quarter-finals and with No. 6 seed Li Xuerui possible awaiting the winner in the semis.
South Korean pair of Lee Yong Dae/Yoo Yeon Seong who won two straight titles at Fuzhou in 2013 and 2014, remains the pair to beat at the China Open. Men’s doubles pairs including Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong of Malaysia, Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan of Indonesia, and Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan of China will probably be the biggest challenges to the South Korean pair.