Kuala Lumpur: Former world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei, two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan, and two-time world champion Chen Long were all placed in the same section of the Hong Kong Open draw that was released on Tuesday.
Lee Chong Wei who won the Hong Kong Open in 2009, 2010, and 2013, begins his quest for a fourth Hong Kong Open title against the 2015 Denmark Open runner-up Tommy Sugiarto from, and probably Marc Zwiebler in the second round, before a possible quarter-final clash with world No. 1 Chen Long, who has defeated him twice this year.
If Lee defeats Chen Long, Lee would face No. 3 seed Lin Dan in the semi-finals.
In the other half, defending champion Son Wan Ho faces second seed Jan O Jorgensen in the quarter-finals and winner of the match could meet Viktor Axelsen or Kento Momota in the semi-finals.
Meanwhile, another Malaysian shuttler Chong Wei Feng will start from the qualifying round. He will take on Sukamta Evert of Indonesia in the first qualifying, and will battle either Wang Tzu Wei of Taiwan or Kenichi Tago of Japan for a spot in main draw.
Reigning women’s world champion Carolina Marin of Spain was handed a tough opening round at Hong Kong open when Tuesday’s draw paired her with Indian P.V Sindhu. Sindhu shocked the Spaniard 21-15, 18-21, 21-17 in the women’s singles semi-finals at Denmark Open two weeks ago. Should Marin cruise past Sindhu, she will face some tough challengers such as Akane Yamaguchi in the second round, No. 6 seed Wang Shixian in the quarter-finals, either No. 8 seed Wang Yihan or No. 3 seed Sung Ji Hyun in the semi-finals, and possibly No. 5 seed Li Xuerui or No. 2 seed Saina Nehwal in the finals.
The men’s doubles draw at Hong Kong Open set up Malaysian men’s doubles pair Goh V Shem/Tan Wee Kiong with Lin Chia Yu/Wu Hsiao-Lin of Taiwan in the first round. No. 4 seeds Fu Haifeng/Zhang Nan of China or former world champions Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol of Korea are awaiting Goh/Tan in the second round.
Former world No. 1 men’s pair Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong is in line to face either No. 6 seeds Chai Biao/Hong Wei of China or last week’s French Open runners-up Mads Conrad-Petersen/Mads Pieler Kolding of Denmark in the second round.
It will be an uphill battle for Amelia Alicia Anscelly/Soong Fie Cho at Hong Kong when they will play world No. 1 pair Misaki Matsutomo/Ayaka Takahashi of Japan in the first round. The match will be a repeat for their third round World Championships victory against the Japanese pair in August.
On the other hand, top Malaysian women’s doubles Vivian Hoo/Woon Khe Wei could have a chance for revenge against Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao of Japan in the opener. The Japanese beat Hoo/Woon 21-13, 21-11 in the second round of 2015 World Championships in Jakarta.
World No. 16 Chan Peng Soon/Goh Liu Ying will start against Edi Subaktiar/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja of Indonesia.