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Friday, April 18, 2008

Asian Badminton Championships Quarterfinals Predictions

Nova Widianto/Lilyana Natsir vs. Xie Zhongbo/Zhang Yawen
With an Olympic berth at stake, Xie and Zhang will be going all out to try to defeat the World Number 1s. However, Nova and Lilyana are no easy meat to be pushed aside. If this were a normal matchup, I would certainly say that the Indonesians have the upper hand. However, Nova has been playing in Men's Doubles too, and we all know he is not young in badminton age. Being the glue that holds the partnership together, I worry for his stamina. Xie/Zhang in 3 games, or Nova/Lilyana in 2.

Wang Lin vs. Wong Mew Choo
Mew Choo has not really met any tough opponents, neither has Wang Lin. However, both appear to be unconvincing. The question is: Will Mew Choo want to join her (boy)friend how that Chong Wei is out :P ? Tough to say as both are not performing up to their usual standards. However, experience-wise, I have to give it to Wong. Wong in 3.

Choong Tan Fook/Lee Wan Wah vs. Lee Jae Jin/Hwang Ji Man
Choong and Lee have been impressive lately, and would certainly take the game against the 2nd Korean MD. However, I am still convinced that they should be MD2 in the upcoming Thomas Cup, although this is, at this stage, highly unlikely. Do you think the veterans or Koo/Tan are better positioned to handle Kido/Setiawan or Jung/Lee? Furthermore, Choong and Lee should act as the 'rock' and the 'base' for the Malaysian team; if Choong and Lee played in MD2, they would almost certainly win all their games, but they might not in MD1.

Chen Jin vs. Wong Choong Hann
After suffering two agonizingly close defeats in the hands of the Chinese last year, Malaysian old hand Choong Hann would be raring to get his revenge. What better way to scalp his revenge, and at the same time, boost his confidence ahead of the Thomas Cup, than to beat Chen Jin, at the same time, denying him his Olympic berth? As I said in my predictions of the Macau Open, Chen has everything to lose and Wong has everything to gain, and Chen will fold under pressure. Wong in 3 games.

Hafiz Hashim vs. Sony Dwi Kuncoro
Hafiz surprisingly beat Bao Chunlai yesterday, and ground reports from Johor indicate that he has improved significantly. No more trickshots, no more fancy shots, just pure groundstrokes. Hafiz has also improved stamina-wise, and would pose a big big challenge to World Championship runner up Sony Dwi Kuncoro. I believe Hafiz, on a confidence high (don't forget it is his confidence that often lets him down), will be able to take this one. Hafiz in 3.

Koo Kien Keat/Tan Boon Heong vs. Mohd. Zakry/Mohd. Fairuzizuan
Koo and Tan are coming off a slump recently, and have to defeat fellow Malaysians. Koo and Tan have never beaten Zakry and Fairuz in an international competition before, losing to them recently in the second round of the Swiss Open. However, I think Koo and Tan have what it takes to win this title. Koo/Tan to win in 2 sets.

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