All the top players line up for the first Super Series Premier of the year!
The first Super Series Premier tournament of 2014 will begin in Malaysia on Tuesday, with prize money of US$500,000 up for grabs. The top men’s and women’s singles players, Lee Chong Wei and Li Xue Rui, will take part and will be looking to get their campaign to amass qualifying points for the year-end finals off to a good start. VICTOR Stars Tontowi Ahmad
r have also chosen this tournament to make their comeback.
2013 was a good year for “Indonesian Lightning” Ahmad
, the pair taking five titles and two second places as well as claiming the mixed doubles title they have long dreamed of at the Badminton World Championships, and seeing their world ranking rise to second. A pair who performed even better, world ranked number one “gold medal couple” Zhang Nan／Zhao Yun Lei, took another title at the Korea Open last week. If nothing unexpected happens these two pairs should meet each other in the final of the mixed doubles in Malaysia. Third seeds and winners of the 2013 Super Series Finals, Nielsen／Pedersen, are also in with a good chance of winning the title but they are in the same half of the draw as Zhang／Zhao.
Men’s doubles world champions Mohammad Ahsan／Hendra Setiawan will also return to the fray, meaning that the top eight ranked pairs in the world will all be competing. Chinese Taipei’s Lee Sheng Mu
／Tsai Chia Hsin
are not seeded so will face a tough hurdle when they face Ahsan／Setiawan, their likely opponents in round two. Another fancied pair is the KOR’s stars Lee Yong Dae
／Yoo Yeon Seong
. They had a good draw and, if all goes well, will have a smooth ride all the way to the semi-final.
In the women’s doubles, with top pair Wang Xiao Li／Yu Yang out because of injury, it seems the title is up for grabs. The pairs with the best chance are fifth seeds Bao Yi Xin／Tang Jin Hua of China who took the title in Korea last week, the No.1 Danish pair Pedersen／Juhl, and beautiful young Korean players Kim So Young／Jang Ye Na
, seeded seventh.
In the men’s and women’s singles, the record of past meetings seems to show that the top two players in the world in each discipline, Lee Chong Wei vs Chen Long and Li Xue Rui vs Wang Shi Xian, respectively, will meet in the finals; however, fifth seed Sung Ji Hyun
will present Wang with a challenge in the quarterfinals; in 2013 the two met three times, Sung
emerging the winner twice, so she seems to have the advantage.
VICTOR Stars appearing in the first round:
Lee Sang Joon／Shin Baek Choe
l (KOR) vs. Liu Xiao Long／Qiu Zi Han  (CHN)
Jang Ye Na
／Kim So Young  (KOR) vs. Nitya Krishinda Maheswari／Greysia Polii (INA)
Ko A Ra／ Yoo Hae Won (KOR) vs. Pia Zebadiah Bernadeth／Rizki Amelia Pradipta  (INA)
Kim Ki Jung
／ Kim So Young (KOR) vs. Michael Fuchs／Birgit Michels (GER)