Kuala Lumpur: World number 2 Chen Long faces a much easier path to the final of World Championships, after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) announced on Friday that Kenichi Tago of Japan has pulled out of the tournament which will be held in Copenhagen from Aug 25 to 31.
In Japan’s shock defeat of China during Thomas Cup semi-final in May, it was Kenichi Tago who scored the first point for Japan by defeating World No. 2 Chen Long 21-13, 21-11 in 43 minutes. Kenichi’s persistent attacks had left Chen Long exhausted and out of hope.
Here are players included in Chen Long’s half of the draw following the exit of Kenichi Tago: 5th seed – Tommy Sugiarto (Indonesia), 7th seed- Shon Wan-ho (South Korea), 9th seed – Hu Yun (Hong Kong), 10th seed – Hans Kristian-Vittinghus (Denmark) and 11th seed – Tian Houwei (China).
Compare to Chen Long, the top seed Lee Chong Wei would have to overcome several tough challenges on his way to the final. The biggest obstacle standing in Chong Wei’s way at this point is 3rd seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark. The Danes defeated Lin Dan 21-19 13-21 21-16 in the Japan Open in June, and crushed Chen Long and Kenichi Tago en route to his Indonesia Open victory on June 23, 2014. Other players such as 8th seed – Simon Santoso of Indonesia who defeated Lee Chong Wei in the 2014 Singapore Open final, 6th seed – Wang Zhengming of China, 12th seed – Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand and 13th seed – Kento Momota of Japan are dangerous players who are drawn on Chong Wei’s half.
National singles coach Tey Seu Bock said Chong Wei will not take any games lightly in Copenhagen.
“Chong Wei will not underestimate any of his opponents, as Jan Jorgensen of Denmark and Indonesia’s Simon Santoso are always aiming for Chong Wei’s scalp,” said Seu Bock.
“Chong Wei is still working hard to regain his fitness, this is our third trip to World Championships together, and I am hoping third time’s the charm!” added Seu Bock.