PENANG: 'Out of the frying pan and into the fire' would best describe the situation of Wong Mew Choo after the redraw on Tuesday night for the World Badminton Championships' women's singles competition.
In the original draw last Friday, the Malaysian number one was drawn in the bottom half and she was tipped to play against second seed Xu Huaiwen of Germany in the third round.
In the redraw, Mew Choo goes to the top half and is on collision course with top seed Zhang Ning in the third round.
The Malaysian, who has yet to register victory over a top Chinese shuttler, has a 0-4 career record against the world number one.
Mew Choo, the 13th seed, will now open her campaign against Taiwan's Chien Yu-chin and she is expected to take on Indonesia's Fransisca Ratnasari in the second round.
In two of her previous appearances in the World Championships, the 2003 SEA Games gold medallist, who is ranked 18th in the world, was eliminated in the second round.
“I know it is going to be very difficult but I try not to think too far ahead as it will only make me disoriented during matches,” said Mew Choo, who now in training in Madrid with the national squad.
“I try to keep it simple by only concentrating on one game at a time and give my best when on the court. It will be good if I can do better than previously in the world meet.”
The other Malaysian women's singles player, M. Sutheaswari, will play against Slovakia's Tvrdy Maja in the first round and is expected to face Hong Kong's Yip Pui Yin in the next round.
Zhang Ning, who won the world title in 2003, together with her compatriot and defending champion, Xie Xingfang, and former China player Huaiwen are the favourites to emerge as the champions in the tournament, which begins in Madrid on Monday.
But Mew Choo has been tagged as one of the players who could spring surprises following her impressive performances this year against higher ranked opponents.
And the 23-year-old believes that the good publicity accorded to her as well as to the world number eight women's doubles pair of Wong Pei Tty-Chin Eei Hui is good to improve the standard of women's badminton in Malaysia.
“In the last two decades, the standard of the Malaysian women's badminton players was poor and only the men were sent for international assignments,” said Mew Choo.
“We may still lag behind our male counterparts but I am happy that we are beginning to make a mark on the international stage.
“There is good interest and support for Malaysian women's badminton now. So, it is important for us to produce encouraging performances, especially in the World Championships.”
Besides the victory in the 2003 SEA Games, Mew Choo also played a big part in helping Malaysia clinch the mixed team gold medal and the women's singles silver in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March.
(source: The Star Online)