European tour session one will be opened in Mulheim from 24 February-1 March 2009, German Open Grand Prix. This tourney could be ‘warming up’ for most of players before the prestigious All England Super Series 2009 in a week after. The Chinese comes almost with all of their best shuttlers to this event which has money prize US$ 80,000 since their not participate at Malaysia SS and Korea SS last January.
As defending champion last year, Lee Hyun Ill will not participating to this event since he retired after Olympic Bejing 2009. World #12 Bao Chunlai (1) looks very obvious among the other top seeded after Malaysia, Indonesia and Denmark didn’t send their best players. He has big chance taking final match if he could deal with Andrew Smith (5) in the quarterfinals. Hence, this battle only happen if Smith can handle India’s Arvind Bhat (9) or dark horse from Malaysia, Mohammad Arif Abdul Latif on his previous match.
The winner of Swedish International Challenge, Jan O Jorgensen should rematch against the Dutch, Eric Pang before facing Bao Chunlai at semifinal stage. But it will bedifficult way since he have to beat Korean, Hong Ji Hoon in the third round and the Japanese, Kenichi Tago (4) in the quarterfinlas.
Sho Sasaki (6) might want to repeat his last year achievement as runners-up but before take quarterfinal ticket, he should pass over 2 Chinese players, Wen Kai in the second round and last year semifinalist, Gong Weijie in the third round. The only Pelatnas’s shuttler of Indonesia, Tommy Sugiarto will fade his dream into quarterfinal but not an easy way as he has to crash with seeded #2 from India, Chetan Anand in the second round and Denmark’s Hans Kristian Vittinghus in the round after.
Seeded #3 from Malaysia, Wong Choong Hann should be the other player in the semifinal spot if he can stop the India’s raising star, Anup Sridhar (15) in the third round. Malaysian youngster, Tan Chun Seang or Dicky Palyama (8) will be the next opponent for Hann in the quarterfinals.
Runners-up this tournament last year, Wang Yihan, (6) should have no worries to reach at quarterfinal stage if she could pass a giant-killer, Ai Goto in second round. To take final ticket and meet with her compatriot, Zhu Lin (1), Yihan probably meet up with Hwang Hye Youn (5) in the quarterfinal and the home soil player, Xu Huaiwen (2) in the next round.
The top seeded, Zhu Lin has an easy way in her first and second round before challenge Malaysia’s, Wong Pei Xian Julia or Megumi Taruno in the quarterfinals. The opponent’s of Zhu’s in the semifinal probably between two European ladies, Bulgarian’s Petya Nedelcheva (3), Judith Meulendijks (Netherland) or Juliane Schenk (8). Petya and Judith would meet at second round when Juliane Schenk have to turn her luck over two dark horse players, Korean’s Bae Youn Joo or Singaporean, Fu Mingtian.
World #1, Jung Jae Sung/Lee Yong Dae separates their partnership at this event. Lee Yong Dae get new combination with Shin Baek Choel and being seeded 5. Both of them probably meet with their compatriot’s, Ko Sung Hyun/Cho Gun Woo before facing the Danish, Simon Mollyhus/Anders Kristiansen (4). The other top Korean doubles player, Hwang Ji Man alsa take new chance with most formidable mixed player, Han Sang Soon. As the sevent seeded they have to face Malaysian, Gan Teik Chai/Tan Bin Shen. On their first match.
The other interesting match at first round is between two America’s, Tony Gunawan who’s separate himself from Candra Wijaya and partnering back with Howard Bach and the new collaboration from China, Guo Zhendong/Xu Chen. Guo Zhendong has many experience with Xie Zhongbo and Xu Chen took his highest achievement with Cai Yun as the runners-up of French SS 2008. The winner between this match would have big opportunity to reach semifinal stage.
As always, this sector would be between Korea or China and also this time. Silver medalist Olympic 2008 as defending champion of this tournament last year, Lee Hyo Jung/Lee Kyung Won probably will face the winner of Japan SS and China Masters SS 2008, Cheng Shu/Zaho Yunlei in the semifinal round. The match between duo Lee and Cheng/Zhao will be an interesting match with with both pairs coming from countries with a solid badminton culture that have been competing for primacy in the discipline of late. In the bottom half, the other KoreanHa Jung Eun/Kim Min Jung if they can beat the dark horse from Singapore, Yao Lei/Shinta Mulia Sari. The other Chinese pair, Pan Pan/Tian Qing probably meet with this two Korean for semifinal ticket.
The unforgettable moments created by Olympic gold medalist, Lee Yong Dae/Lee Hyo Jung (1) in this tournament last year when they’re almost lost over Chinese pair, He Hanbin/Yu Yang, went down from 9-21 before surprisingly force their luck 27-25 and winning the decider 21-18. Now they’re back and should no worries for semifinal ticket. But to keep their crown and taking step into final round, they should against Chinese new partnership semifinalist Hongkong SS 2008,, Zheng Bo/Ma Jin in the top four round. But before meet the Korean, Zheng Bo.Ma Jin probably face semifinalist Korea SS 2009 from India, Diju/Jwala (4).
The other Korean pair, Han Sang Hoon/Kim Min Jung (7) will face stiff challenges from England’s pair, David Lindley/Suzanne Rayappan (3) in the quarterfinals if these two Britannia can handle the dark horse from Indonesia/Russia, Flandy Limpele/Anastasia Rushkikh in their first match. To make it info final battle with their compatriot’s Lee/Lee, Han/Kim will be tested by runners-up China SS 2008, Xu Chen/Zhao Yunlei in the semifinal for their talent and consistency.
By Ferry Irawan, http://www.bulutangkismania.wordpress.com