KUALA LUMPUR: Former world junior champions Ow Yao Han-Chooi Kah Ming have been presented with a chance to redeem their pride at the German Open Grand Prix Gold in Mulheim from Feb 26-March 3.
The duo suffered an embarrassing first round exit in the season opener – the Malaysian Open – last month.
In the draw released by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) yesterday, the duo have been drawn to meet high-flying fifth seeds Vladimir Ivanov-Ivan Sozonov of Russia in the opening round in Mulheim.
If they get past the Russians, they may meet Denmark’s Rasmus Bonde-Mads Conrad-Petersen in the second round.
A tricky test awaits them in the quarter-finals as they may meet one of these pairs – Chris Langridge-Peter Mills of England, Indonesians Yonathan Suryatama Dasuki-Hendra Gunawan and fourth seeds Hirokatsu Hashimoto-Noriyasu Hirata of Japan.
It was Langridge-Mills who served them with a demoralising defeat in the first round of the Malaysian Open at the Putra Stadium last month.
National doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her hopes that the youngsters will make amends for their Malaysian Open flop with a strong showing in Germany.
“I’m not looking beyond the first round for Yao Han-Kah Ming in the German Open. The Russians are a tough nut to crack and winning the first match will make up for their dismal outing in the Malaysian Open,” said Kim Her.
Besides Yao Han-Kah Ming, the other Malaysian doubles pairs in the fray are professionals Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif-Mohd Fairuzizuan Mohd Tazari and Gan Teik Chai-Ong Soon Hock, world No. 19 Lim Khim Wah-Goh V Shem, Nelson Heg Wei Keat-Teo Ee Yi, Chan Peng Soon-Ong Jian Guo and Tan Bin Shen, who’ll team up with Scotland’s Robert Blair.
KLRC’s Zakry-Fairuzizuan and Teik Chai-Soon Hock are also in the same top half as Yao Han-Kah Ming but the two professional pairs have a huge fight in their hands in the opening rounds.
Zakry-Fairuzizuan have been drawn to take on top seeds Lee Yong-dae-Ko Sung-hyun of South Korea in the opening round while Teik Chai-Soon Hock should meet seventh seeds Liu Xiaolong-Qiu Zihan in the second round.
The only Malaysian pair in the lower half are the unseeded Khim Wah-V Shem, who probably have the best chance to reach the final.
Their first real test will be in the quarter-finals against South Koreans Kim Sa-rang-Kim Ki-jung.
The third-seeded Koreans did well last year to upset several big names, including Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong.
If Khim Wah-V Shem clear that hurdle, they may meet either second seeds Hiroyuki Endo-Kenichi Hayakawa of Japan or Chai Biao-Hong Wei of China in the semi-finals.
The other three pairs – Wei Keat-Ee Yi, Peng Soon-Jian Guo and Bin Shen-Blair – will begin their campaign in the qualifying tournament.
In the mixed doubles, Peng Soon-Liu Ying have a good chance to win their first title of the year as long as they do not underestimate the lower ranked pairs – fifth seeds Riky Widianto-Puspita Richi of Indonesia, fourth seeds Fran Kurniawan-Shendy Puspa Irawati of Indonesia, third seeds Danny Bawa Chrisnanta-Vanessa Neo of Singapore and second seeds Robert Mateusiak-Nadiezda Zieba of Poland.