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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Badminton Analysis- China Open

Men's Singles
With the withdrawal of Olympic Champion Taufik Hidayat, the two clear favorites of the Men's Singles are top seed and World Champion Lin Dan and the second seeded Lee Chong Wei. Dark horses Bao Chunlai and Chen Jin will attempt to sneak in and steal the title, but I think ultimately the victor will be one of Lin or Lee. Lee has been in superb form lately, winning the French Open and displaying his newfound patient ala Morten Frost style of playing, which was his knee injury's blessing in disguise. On the other hand, Lin Dan has recorded a rare shock loss in the semifinals of the French Open to compatriot Bao Chunlai. However, Lin Dan has never been known to dwell excessively on a minor hiccup, and I believe he will be the main contender for his home ground title. Lee will do his best to upstage him, and the anticipated Lin vs. Lee finals could very well go either way.

Men's Doubles
Recovering from a dramatic game in France against a Japanese pair, current world number one and first seed Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong have to win their first title as first seeds to stay as world number 1. Home ground favorites Cai Yun and Fu Haifeng, world number 2 and second seeds will do their best to satisfy their home crowd and reclaim the world number 1 they held a few months ago. Cai and Fu have been in superb form lately, winning the French Open by demolishing Malaysian veterans Choong and Lee whom they have lost to in two previous encounters. World Champions Markis Kido and Hendra Setiawan have been a little off form lately, winning just one Grand Prix title since their triumph in Kuala Lumpur. In addition to this, the presence of Tony Gunawan/Candra Wijaya, Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah, Jung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae and Jens Eriksen/Martin Luungard Hansen guarantees that the Men's Doubles title will be the most hotly contested title in this tournament.

Women's Singles
This Chinese dominated area is no different to other tournaments we've witnessed this year. With Zhang Ning, Xie Xingfang, Lu Lan and Zhu Lin occupying the 1-4th seeding in this tournament, the only valid question is who of these 4 will win the title, and not which country would win the title. Zhang will try her best to win this title, as it will augur well for her next year when she defends her Olympic title. Her biggest contender is first seed and world number 1 Xie Xingfang, who looked impressive in her win against Pi Hongyan en route to winning the maiden French Open title. Lu Lan has improved tremendously over the year, from a backup shuttler that loses to players like Wong Mew Choo to one who can win a Super Series title. This hotly contested field will be interesting to watch, but if one things for sure, China will certainly dominate this title.

Women's Doubles
Zhang Yawen and Wei Yili, who recovered from their shock first round exit in the hands of Malaysians Wong Pei Tty and Chin Eei Hui to win the French Open, are the top seeds while World Champions Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen are second seeds. History dictates that Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen would win this title, as Yang Wei has won this title for the past 4 years. However, Chinese Taipei pair of Chien/Cheng, Korean pair Lee/Lee, Indonesian pair Vita/Natsir and Malaysian pair Wong/Chin provide stiff competition. It would be interesting to see which pair stamp their dominance ahead of the year ending Super Series Finals.

Mixed Doubles
Obviously favorites are world number 1 Gao Ling and Zheng Bo. Indonesians Widianto and Natsir will try to prevent Gao and Zheng's continued dominance in the Mixed Doubles, but there is not much that they can do. World Championship bronze medalists Xie/Zhang and Marrisa/Limpele are dark horses, but ultimately, I still think Gao and Zheng would win this title.

For results of the China Open go here:

Badminton Loonsport