Not an easy draw for Chong Wei in Malaysia Open

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World No 7 and Malaysia number one shuttler Datuk Lee Chong Wei faces a  thorny path in his bid to his 12th Malaysian Open title which will be held at the Axiata Arena, Bukit Jalil from Jun 26 to July 1.

The USD700,000 Celcom Axiata Malaysia Open has drawn the world’s top 10 players, including world No 1 Viktor Axelsen of Denmark, defending champion and world No 10 Lin Dan and 2015 winner Chen Long ( world No 5), both from China.

To make it juicier for Chong Wei the Malaysian has been drawn in the same half with the above mentioned big names.

The 35-year-old Malaysian faces a tricky first-round match against Japan’s Kazumasa Sakai (17). A win will take Chong Wei for a second-round clash against rising Thai youngster Suppanyu Avihingsanon or South Korean veteran Lee Hyun-Il.

Chong Wei leads 4-0 in the head-to-head count with his last win being at the Badminton Asia Championships in Wuhan, China in April. The Malaysian won 21-19, 21-11. 

Malaysian fans will be hoping and be keeping their fingers crossed for Chong Wei to reach the quarter-finals for a possible clash against Danish ace Axelsen – the man Chong Wei defeated in straight games in last month’s Thomas Cup Finals in Bangkok.

Chong Wei won his match against Axelsen 21-9, 21-19 but the Danes won the tie 3-2 to top Group D in Bangkok.

It gets tougher from this stage for Chong Wei as he faces the Great Wall of China – either Chen Long or Lin Dan in the semis. Lin Dan beat his Malaysian rival in the final to win the Malaysian Open in Kuching last year.

In the men’s doubles, Malaysia’s number one pair Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong face Thailand’s Tinn Isriyanet-Kittisak Namdash in the first round.

Women’s number one Soniia Cheah has drawn a tough, tough opener against top seed and defending champion and current world No 1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH

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