PETALING JAYA: Lee Chong Wei and the men’s doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong have good chances to earn back-to-back titles at the Malaysian Open, which will be played at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil from Jan 6-11.
But it will be tough for the women’s pair of Chin Eei Hui-Wong Pei Tty to follow suit.
Chong Wei, Kien Keat-Boon Heong and Eei Hui-Pei Tty were the champions in the Super Series Masters Finals in Kota Kinabalu last week.
Pei Tty-Chin Eei are the top seed for the first time in the Malaysian Open but they have tough opponents in China’s former world number one Zhang Jiewen-Yang Wei in their quarter of the draw.
Jiewen-Yang Wei are former Olympic and world champions and Pei Tty-Eei Hui will have to rise to the occasion to beat the vastly experienced pair, who have quit the national squad but are continuing to play on individual sponsorship.
If Pei Tty-Eei Hui manage to upstage the fifth-seeded Chinese pair, they are likely to earn a repeat clash of the Masters Finals final against Indonesian third seeds Vita Marissa-Lilyana Natsir.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong are also slated to meet South Korean second seeds Lee Yong-dae-Jung Jae-sung for the second consecutive time if they reached the quarter-finals.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong are the fifth seeds and start against a qualifier pair.
They have fellow Malaysians Goh Wei Shem-Lin Woon Fui or Mohd Razif Latif-Chan Peng Soon in their path in the next match.
Fourth seeds Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari-Mohd Zakry Latif have a tricky first-round match against Indonesians Alvent Yulianto-Hendra Gunawan in a half that has another Indonesian pair in top seeds Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan.
Chong Wei, whose confidence is on a high after successfully lifting his first title as world number one in Kota Kinabalu, has Indonesians Andre Kurniawan Tedjono and Simon Santoso in his path to the semi-finals.
However, the two Indonesians should not be much of a problem for Chong Wei, especially when he is playing in front of the home crowd.
Reaching the last four could give him a match against a familiar opponent, Peter-Gade Christensen of Denmark.
Malaysian veteran Wong Choong Hann has drawn top Indonesian player Sony Dwi Kuncoro as his first-round opponent. He also has Indonesia’s former Olympic champion Taufik Hidayat and South Korean Park Sung-hwan in his half of the draw.
In the women’s singles, Wong Mew Choo will find it tough to secure a good start to the year as she has second seed Tine Rasmussen of Denmark in her quarter of the draw.