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Monday, November 19, 2007

Badminton Predictions - China Open

An unusually large amount of mouth watering matches litter the opening day of the China Open.

Wang Chen vs. Saina Nehwal
Both players put on unconvincing performances in the European circuit. Wang got eliminated by Malaysian Wong Mew Choo in the first round in Paris while the young Nehwal experienced a shock defeat in the hands of a lesser known opponent in the quarterfinals of the Vietnam Open. Wang's efficient and elegant footwork and her deceptive play will certainly put Nehwal in a difficult position. Although talented, Nehwal still lacks the grace and skill of the Chinese veterans. Given that Wang's prior injury will not affect her game, she should take this in 2 sets.

Julia Meulendijk vs. Zhu Lin
On paper the young Chinese appears to be a clear favorite for this match. However, world champion Zhu appears to be going through a slump in her career, with defeats to Chinese second stringer Lu Lan in Odsense and Ella Dhiel in Paris. Julia can be a lethal player at times, but this match will fall circumstantially; if Zhu is performing at her best, she will take this match in 2 sets. If however, she continues being inconsistent, she will break the home crowd's heart, and continue her horrendous run.

Wang Lin vs. Xu Huaiwen
The World Junior Champion faces Chinese cum German Xu in a classic veteran versus youngling match. Xu has disappeared from dominating the badminton scene for a long time, and many have been silently branding her as a spent force. Wang is one of the up and coming forces from the Chinese badminton powerhouse, and where better to stamp her mark than at her homeground? However, I still think Xu still has enough to fend off Wang's challenge and should take this match in 3 sets.

Lin Dan vs. Park Sung Hwan
Lin Dan's shock defeat to Park in the second round of the 2007 Malaysian Open raised several eyebrows. However, Super Dan has since avenged his defeat many times, the last being in Paris where he demolished Park in the second round. Despite of this, Lin has always been most vulnerable in the opening rounds, and Park is anything but an easy first round opponent. However, Lin should fend off Park's surge, and should take this game in 2 sets.

Kenneth Jonassen vs. Anup Sridhar
Giant Killer Sridhar faces off against the resilient and gritty Dane Jonassen in another veteran vs. up and coming match. While Anup's impressive run in the World Championship is well, impressive, his uninspiring performances in Europe shows that he still has much to learn. Jonassen, at an age where most badminton players retire, is known to fight on and on even when faced with imminent defeat. Anup on the other hand, still does not have the mental capacity of being a champion. As to who would take this game, I think Jonassen should fend off Sridhar's attack, and should take this game in 2 sets.

Bao Chunlai vs. Taufik Hidayat
Indonesia's golden boy Hidayat was a relatively quiet force in the recently concluded European circuit. Losing to Bao in Odsense and Lin in Paris, Taufik is still hunting for his first Super Series title. Hidayat will be gunning to avenge his defeat in the hands of Bao in Odsense. Hidayat will have a game plan to attack Bao's perceived mental weakness, but the question is whether he has the ability to put it into action, especially with rumors of his faltering stamina. Bao, although affectionately called Mr. Runner Up, is a very formidable player. Taufik will want to win this match and go far in this tournament in the hopes of defending his Olympic title in Beijing next year. Tough to call.

Wong Choong Hann vs. Sony Dwi Kuncoro
Wong disappointingly lost to Park Sung Hwan in the first round of the French Open, and another first round exit could very well dash his hopes of qualifying for next year's Olympic. The deceptive quality of Kuncoro is something to look out for, and it will be tough for Wong to actually pull this off. If Wong wants to not only qualify but qualify and do well in next year's ultimate test, he would have to pull off another convincing performance, just like the one in China Masters. China is Wong's happy hunting ground, and hopefully he and Malaysian supporters will return happy this time. Unfortunately, on current form, it looks like Sony would win in an extremely close encounter.

Lee Chong Wei vs. Boonsak Ponsana
Lee is obviously the favorite for this match. In fact, barring any upsets, the second seed should go all the way to the finals and meet Lin Dan. Another tough first round opponent, this time in the form of Singapore Open winner Ponsana. Lee should easily pull this off, although Boonsak is known to put up a fight at times.

Stay tuned for the predictions on the doubles games!

3 comments:

Pijah said...

love to read ur writing. gud language. it's gud for me to learn english :D

warmest regards. ;)

Victor Ching said...

pijah: thanks for the compliment!

Lee said...

pijah: where r u from?