PETALING JAYA: National No. 2 pair Hoon Thien How-Tan Wee Kiong know that they just need to push themselves the extra mile in the China Open in order to secure a place in the Super Series Final from Dec 11-15 in Kuala Lumpur.
Thien How-Wee Kiong who are currently ranked No. 12 in the world are also ninth in the Super Series standings following a surprising semi-final appearance at the French Open last month.
With the second ranked pair in the Super Series list – South Korea’s Ko Sung-hyun-Lee Yong-dae no longer playing together, Thien How-Wee Kiong are almost assured of their place in the Final as 10th ranked pair Takeshi Kamura-Keigo Sonoda of Japan do not qualify because the Japanese already have two pairs in the top eight.
But getting to the China Open final will not be easy as Thien How-Wee Kiong will face world No. 3 Mathias Boe-Carsten Mogensen of Denmark – a pair they have never met before – in the first round in Shanghai on Wednesday.
Their closest rivals – Indonesia’s Angga Pratama-Ryan Agung Saputra, who are 11th in the Super Series standings, have a much easier draw in China.
The Indonesians are seeded eighth and face England’s Chris Adcock-Andrew Ellis in the first round, with the possibility of facing Germany’s Michael Fuchs-Johannes Schoettler in the second round.
National doubles coach Pang Cheh Chang however is confident that Thien How-Wee Kiong have enough in the bag to pull off an upset over the veteran Danes.
“The chance is definitely there for Thien How-Wee Kiong to qualify for the Super Series Finals as South Korea are unlikely to send Sung-hyun-Yong-dae,” said Cheh Chang.
“They have a tough fight going up against Boe-Mogensen but after their French Open results, I believe that they can beat the Danes, too.
“I’m happy that they did well against Lee Yong-dae-Yoo Yeon-seong in France, especially since Thien How always plays well against Yong-dae.
“But they’ve never met the Danes before and they need to come up with the best strategy themselves in order to secure their place for good.
“Basically the Danes are a lefty (Boe) and righty (Mogensen) combination which is a little unique but Thien How-Wee Kiong are also high on confidence at the moment. Furthermore, they can always look to Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong, who have played the Danes many times, for advice,” added Cheh Chang.
If Thien How-Wee Kiong secure a win over Boe-Mogensen, they will probably go up against South Korea’s Ko Sung-hyun-Shin Baek-cheol or Japan’s Hiroyuki Saeki-Ryota Taohata in the second round.
Kien Keat-Boon Heong who made the French Open final, have an easier start, going up against Holland’s Ruud Bosch-Koen Ridder in the first round.
Two other pairs - professionals Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock and Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari are also in the fray.
In the mixed doubles, Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying, who are set to skip the Naypyitaw SEA Games for the Super Series Finals, will face China’s Lu Kai-Tang Jinhua in the first round.