CHINA have withdrawn their armada and this sets the stage for World No Lee Chong Wei and Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui to stamp their mark in next week’s Super Series Masters Finals in Kota Kinabalu.
Chong Wei, without a title since assuming the top ranking, now does not have to worry about nemesis Lin Dan and Chen Jin and should be confident about winning the title, which comes with prize money of US$40,000 (RM146,000).
A further piece of good news for Chong Wei was 2004 Athens Olympics champion Taufik Hidayat’s withdrawal.
Chong Wei, however, refused to get carried away.
“China’s withdrawal doesn’t come as a surprise as the players had mentioned it during the Hong Kong Open. As for me, I am not too excited as the Masters Finals are not a priority for me,” said Chong Wei in Alor Star yesterday.
“My biggest concern is to prepare for next year’s tournaments beginning with the Malaysia Open next month.
“The main attraction in Kota Kinabalu is the prize money but the absence of Lin Dan, Chen Jin and Taufik won’t really make it easier as there are several others I have to contend with.”
Among them are Indonesian Sony Dwi Kuncoro and Denmark’s Peter Gade Christensen.
Lin Dan, Chen Jin and Taufik’s withdrawals brought cheer to Wong Choong Hann as he, together with England’s Andrew Smith and Hong Kong’s Ng Wei, will feature in the Masters Finals.
There was also good news for women’s singles Wong Mew Choo as she has also made the cut with India’s Saina Nehwal replacing Zhu Lin and Lu Lan.
As for women’s doubles Pei Tty-Eei Hui, they will not have to contend with Olympic champions Du Jing-Yu Yang and Cheng Shu-Zhao Yunlei.
Also out are South Koreans Lee Kyung Won-Lee Hyo Jung and Ha Jung Eun-Kim Min Jung and Pei Tty-Eei Hui should really fancy their chances.
The replacements are Charmaine Reid-Nicole Grether (Can-Ger), Duang Anong Aroonkesorn-Kunchala Voravitchitchaikul (Tha), Jo Novita-Greysia Polii (Ina) and Judith Meulendijks-Yao Jie (Ned).