KUALA LUMPUR: Reigning Olympic champion Lin Dan has pulled out from the China Masters from Sept 11-16 but it will not make it any easier for the four Malaysian hopefuls in the tournament.
Lin Dan’s younger compatriot Chen Long is now the top seed and in his half are Malaysians Mohd Hafiz Hashim of KLRC and back-up shuttler Chong Wei Feng.
In the draw released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Tuesday, Hafiz faces India’s rising star R.M.V. Gurusaidutt in the opening round. A win will see him up against another Indian in P. Kashyap next.
Chen Long awaits him in the quarter-finals.
Wei Feng is in the same quarter as two other formidable China players – Wang Zhengming and Du Pengyu. But he will have to overcome a tricky first round encounter against Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand.
Liew Daren is in the lower half with second seed Chen Jin of China.
He faces Sourabh Varma of India in the opening round before coming up against either Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark or Taiwan’s Hsu Jen-hao.
Another back-up shuttler, Chan Kwong Beng, will have to go through the qualifying tournament to make the main draw.
With many players skipping the sixth leg of the Super Series event, the women’s doubles and mixed doubles events will have only eight and 16 pairs respectively.
In the women’s doubles, Malaysia will be banking on the Ng sisters of Hui Lin-Hui Ern and Goh Liu Ying-Lim Yin Loo to win their quarter-final matches against Shizuka Matsuo-Mami Naito of Japan and Thailand’s Duanganong Aroonkesorn-V. Kunchala respectively.
In the mixed doubles, Chan Peng Soon-Liu Ying have received an opening round bye and will take on either Tao Jiaming-Bao Yixin of China or Gan Teik Chai-Hui Lin in the quarter-finals.
Without any big names in the men’s doubles event, four Malaysian pairs – Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong, Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari, Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock, Peng Soon-Ong Jian Guo and Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem – should be in the running for the title.