Tough opener for Singapore badminton pair

The Republic's top badminton mixed doubles pair Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han will face an uphill battle at next month's OUE Singapore Open, in their quest to reach a first-ever Superseries quarter-final.

The Singaporeans, ranked world No. 17, will face Indonesian world No. 18 duo Ronald Ronald and Melati Daeva Oktavianti in the first round at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The two pairs have a 1-1 head-to-head record, with the Singaporeans winning the last encounter in three sets at last June's Australian Open.

Should Hee and Tan advance, they will face either China's world No. 4 tandem Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong, or Japan's world No. 12 duo Kenta Kazuno and Ayane Kurihara in the second round.

Tan, 23, said: "We have trained hard for the OUE Open, and are ready to give it our all.

"Based on our head-to-head (with the Indonesians), our odds are 50-50. We see the home ground support as an advantage, instead of a pressure, for us to perform well."

Other Singaporeans involved in the April 11-16 tournament have been handed tough draws as well.

Women's singles world No. 25 Liang Xiaoyu will face Taiwan's world No. 24 Hsu Ya-ching, who beat the Singaporean last year.

Meanwhile Grace Chua (world No. 65) and Yeo Jia Min (world No. 84) will face Taiwan's Lee Chia-hsin and India's Saina Nehwal respectively if the Singaporeans progress past the qualifiers.

In the men's doubles, Singapore's world No. 27 pair Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Hendra Wijaya will do battle with Thailand's Bodin Isara and Nipitphon Phuangphuapet in the first round, while Hee and Loh Kean Hean will start their campaign in the qualifiers.

Some of the top overseas shuttlers have little luck with their opening matches as well.

Women's singles Olympics silver medallist PV Sindhu of India will face Japan's Olympic bronze medallist Nozomi Okuhara, while men's singles Olympic champion Chen Long of China will meet Taiwan's Wang Tzu-wei, who beat Chen recently.

This article was first published on March 23, 2017.
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