Host Vietnam is hoping to capture a few victories upon facing Singapore at the Asian preliminaries of the Thomas & Uber Cup, which starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Ho Chi Minh City’s Seventh Military Zone Stadium.
“Vietnam will find it difficult win more than three of the five matches against Singapore to get through to the quarterfinals. But some victories are possible if the players play well,” said local coach Nguyen The Huy.
In the first match, Vietnam’s best player Nguyen Tien Minh, listed 39th in international rankings, will face Singapore’s top competitor Lee Yen Hui Kendrick, a silver medalist at last year’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games ranked 20th in the world.
Bereft of the pressure associated with being the higher-ranked player, Minh may surprise the field, having once defeated a Korean player ranked in the world’s top 10 at the 15th Asiad competition held in Qatar in 2006.
Quang Minh represents Vietnam’s second hope to secure a win against either Wong Zi Liang Derek or Tan Wei Kiat Aaron, pending Singapore’s strategic match ordering.
This year’s Asian Zone competition includes 14 male and 11 female teams, subdivided into four groups for round robin play.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for the quarterfinal round.
Titleholders China and host Indonesia qualify automatically for the finals scheduled to take place in Jakarta from May 11-18.
A total of 12 nations, including China and Indonesia, will battle it out in Jakarta.