Indonesian men’s singles player Sony Dwi Kuncoro is back at his best after recovering from a hamstring injury.
And top it up with a favourable draw in the Super Series Masters Finals, the stocky Sony is set to be Malaysian Lee Chong Wei’s major threat for the title in the tournament beginning tomorrow at the Likas Indoor Stadium.
In the draw made yesterday, top seed and world number one Chong Wei is in Group A with Dane Peter Gade-Christensen, former Malaysian international Wong Choong Hann and Hong Kong’s Chan Yan Kit.
The second seeded Sony is in Group B with compatriot Taufik Hidayat, Denmark’s Joachim Persson and England’s Andrew Smith.
Barring any upsets, Chong Wei and Sony are tipped to top their groups in the tournament that offers a lucrative US$500,000 in total prize money.
Indonesian singles coach Hendrawan hoped that Sony and Taufik, who only confirmed his participation two days ago after recovering from a wrist injury, would make a strong finish to the season.
“The draw is fair and balanced. On current form, Chong Wei and the two Danes (Gade-Christensen and Persson) are strong contenders for the title,” he said.
“But I am hoping for Sony and Taufik to make a comeback here. It does not matter that they are in the same group. Both can make the semi-finals as the top two finishers in the group.”
Hendrawan said that Sony’s form took a dive after suffering the hamstring after his back-to-back Super Series victories at the Japan Open and China Masters last September.
“Sony’s career has been plagued by injuries. But he is now back in good condition and we hope that he can pull off something here,” he said.
Taufik has been on a roller coaster ride this year. He has chalked up good victories but he has also lost to unheralded players.
Chong Wei was cool about his prospect after being drawn in the same group with two seasoned campaigners — Choong Hann and Gade-Christensen.
“The draw has not changed anything for me. It is just unfortunate that two Malaysians are in the same group. I will give my best to make the semi-finals,” he said.
“I am happy that Taufik will play in the Finals after all. It will add more competitive edge to the tournament. This is what the fans want.”
In the women’s singles, Mew Choo is not in the best of conditions and she can forget about making the semi-finals from a Group B that has Denmark’s Tine Rasmussen, Pi Hongyan of France and India’s Saina Nehwal. Hong Kong’s Zhou Mi is the overwhelming favourite to win the title.