Asia’s top players are in Delhi this week to crown a new Asian champion and with most of the Chinese players opting out, the draws are wide open.
World number 1 Lee Chong Wei has opted out of the event as he did in Switzerland last month after his All-England success, leaving the top seeding to go to Indonesia’s Taufik Hidayat. The Indonesian plays a qualifier in his opening round match. The second seed is one of the few Chinese players in the draw, but he is one of the favourites for the title. Lin Dan will look to put a poor start to 2010 behind him and claim his first title of the year; he plays Thailand’s Suppanyu Avihingsanon in the opening round. The main challenger will be 6th seed Kenichi Tago, who will try to regain the form that took him to the All-England Final last month; he begins his campaign against Chong Wei Feng of Malaysia.
Top seed Saina Nehwal will represent India as she looks to take Asian gold in her home nation; she begins her campaign again Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand. Her main challenge will come from Mi Zhou of Hong Kong, the second seed starts her campaign with a match against Maria Kristin Yulianti of Indonesia. There are also 3 Japanese seeds that could potentially win the title, Eriko Hirose (seeded 3), Ai Goto (seeded 6) and Sayaka Sato (seeded 8th) who could all be a threat to Nehwal’s chances of Asian gold.
With no Cai and Fu or Lee and Jung this week, the top seeding goes to Chinese Taipei pairing of Chen and Lin. They start their campaign against Liu and Qiu of China. Hashimoto and Hirata of Japan are the second seeds and play against local pairing of Dewalkar and Vishnu in the first round; they are one of 3 Japanese seeds in the men’s doubles. There arelocal expectations in the 3rd seeded Kumar and Thomas of India who play a pair from Bangladesh in the opening round.
The Japanese have yet another 3 seeds in the women’s doubles, including the top two seeds for the event. Number 1 seeds Fujii and Kakiiwa begin their campaign against Eom and Jang of Korea, with the second seeded Maeda and Suetsuna playing a qualifier in round 1. Chien and Cheng of Chinese Taipei will hope to overcome their higher seeded opponents, with the 3rd seeds beginning their campaign against Choi and Park of Korea in their opening round match.