By LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Top Malaysian men’s singles player Lee Chong Wei faces an easy route to the semi-finals of next month’s Swiss Open but it could be early exits for team-mates Mohd Hafiz Hashim and Wong Choong Hann.
In the draw made yesterday for the last Super Series tournament, to be held in Basel from March 11- 16 and where Olympic qualifying points will be awarded, Chong Wei should have no problem overcoming South Korea’s Park Sung-hwan and Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana in the first two rounds.
Chong Wei has not lost to Sunghwan and Boonsak in recent meetings.
Chong Wei then may find himself pitted against fifth seed Kenneth Jonassen of Denmark for a place in the semi-finals.
It will be the first real test for the second seeded Malaysian, who will then find himself facing either fourth seed Chen Jin of China, Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark or unseeded Korean Lee Hyun-il in the semi-finals.
Hyun-il is enjoying a revival in his form and even beat current world No. 1 Lin Dan of China to lift the Korean Open title last month.
Surprisingly, five other Malaysians, including Hafiz and Choong Hann, have been bunched in the upper half of the draw.
Hafiz’s miserable run in the Super Series looks set to continue as he is up against Lin Dan, the two-time world champion, in the first round.
Choong Hann has to face KLRC team-mate Lee Tsuen Seng in the second round. If he wins, the former Malaysian number one is likely to face World Championships runner-up Sony Dwi Kuncoro next, unless Sairul Amar Ayob is able to spring an upset by beating the Indonesian in the first round.
Hafiz’s elder brother, Roslin, also faces a tough Chinese hurdle in the first round, taking on third seed Bao Chunlai.
Roslin also has Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia in his path.
Malaysia’s Tan Chun Seang has a tough task if he makes it to the main draw from the qualifying rounds as he will face Chen Jin in the first round.
Top Malaysian women’s singles player Wong Mew Choo is likely to find it uphill from the second round onwards, with Korean Open champion Zhou Mi of China standing in her way.
If Mew Choo can upset the former world No 1, she will play against top seed Xie Xingfang of China for a place in the semifinals.
The top doubles pairing of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong also have a tricky draw awaiting them as they seek to retain the title.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong, the third seeds, open their campaign against Polish pair Robert Mateusiak-Michal Logosz and are likely to play team-mates Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Latif for a place in the last eight.
Also in Kien Keat-Boon Heong’s path towards the semi-finals are Indonesia’s Luluk Hadiyanto- Alvent Yulianto and Taiwan’s Tsai Chia-hsin-Hu Chung-shien.
Veteran pair Choong Tan Fook- Lee Wan Wah begin their campaign against team-mates Gan Teik Chai-Lin Woon Fui, with the winners earning a second round clash against Malaysian Open finalists Lars Paaske-Jonas Rasmussen of Denmark.