The new 2014 season kick off in Seoul! The home team, the ROK, will be sending out all its big guns into action in the hope of doing well at the first major event of the New Year, and Lee Yong Dae／ Yoo Yeon Seong, Kim Ki Jung／Kim Sa Rang are seeded. Last year’s respective men’s and women’s singles champions, Lee Chong Wei and Sung Ji Hyun, will also be defending their titles.
Last year’s men’s doubles winners were Lee Yong Dae／Ko Sung Hyun. This partnership was brought to an end by Ko’s military service; this year Lee will appear with the new partner he found success with in the latter part of last year, Yoo Yeon Seong.This pair won a title on their first official outing and won three titles in the four Super Series events they played at, an admirable record indeed. Their success has rocketed them up to 17th place in the BWF world rankings and they are seeded five at the Korea Open.
The top men’s singles seeds are Denmark’s Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen; other pairs that much is expected of are the ROK’s Kim Ki Jung／Kim Sa Rang, China’s Liu Xiao Long／ Qiu Zi Han, Malaysia’s Koo Kien Keat／ Tan Boon Heong, and Chinese Taipei’s Lee Sheng Mu／Tsai Chia Hsin. Each pair is very strong and ready for action!
As for the women’s doubles, defending champions Yu Yang／ Wang Xiao Li have a bye in the first round;in the last eight they will probably face a tough match against their compatriots Bao Yi Xin／Tang Jin Hua. Popular Kim Ha Na and new star Lee So Hee are out through injury and their respective partners, Shin Seung Chan／Jung Kyung Eun, will play together for this tournament. They will face Gabrielle Adcock／Lauren Smith of England in the first round and could be dark horses!
Hot favorite to take the men’s singles title Lee Chong Wei will be up against local boy Sun Wan Ho in the first round. Sun has a record of just one win against four losses in his past meetings with the Malaysian super star but the win was at their last meeting at the India Open in 2012 when he overcame Lee in three games, to the surprise of many. The biggest obstacle to Lee defending his title successfully, the “China Legion”, will send just four of their top players to take part this time: Chen Long, Du Peng Yu, Tian Hou Wei and Gao Huan.
Wang Shi Xian is the top seed in the women’s singles and is very likely to meet sixth seed Tai Tzu Ying again in the quarterfinals. At the Super Series Finals last month, Wang beat Tai in the qualifying round but was beaten by Tai, who staged an amazing fight back, in the semi-finals. The biggest threats to defending champion Sung Ji Hyun on the road to taking the title again are Ratchanok Intanon and Porntip Buranaprasertsuk of Thailand; she is likely to face one of the two at the semifinal stage.
The top seeds in the mixed doubles are Zhang Nan／Zhao Yun Lei; in the same half of the draw are the Adcocks, seeded third;Gabrielle White will play under her married name from this tournament on.
VICTOR Stars appearing at the 2014 Korean Open:
Sun Wan Ho (Korea) vs. Lee Chong Wei  (Malaysia)
Tai Tzu Ying  (Chinese Taipei) vs. Yip Pui Yin (HK)
Bae Youn Joo  (Korea) vs. Imabeppu Kaori (Japan)
Sung Ji Hyun  (Korea) vs. Chochuwong Pornpawee (Thailand)
Lee Sheng Mu／Tsai Chia Hsin  (Chinese Taipei) vs. Michael Fuchs／Johannes Schoettler (Germany)
Lee Yong Dae／Yoo Yeon Seong  (Korea) vs. Chan Yun Lung／Lee Chun Hei (HK)
Lee Seung Joon／Shin Baek Choel (Korea) vs. qualifier [Q]
Kim Ki Jung／Kim Sa Rang  (Korea) vs. Kamura Takeshi／Sonoda Keigo (Japan)
Jang Yi Na／Kim So Young)  (Korea) vs. Johanna Goliszewski／Birgit Michels
Ko A Ra／ Yoo Hae Won  (Korea) vs. Taruno Megumi／Aratama Misato (Japan)
Shin Seung Chan／ Jung Kyung Eun (Korea) vs. Gabrielle Adcock／Lauren Smith (England)
Shin Baek Choel／ Eom Hye Won (Korea) vs. Zhang Nan／Zhao Yun Lei  (China)
Yoo Yeon Seong ／ Jang Yi Na (Korea) vs. Kamura Takeshi／Yonemoto Koharu (Japan)
Lee Yong Dae／ Shin Seung Chan (Korea) vs. qualifier [Q]
Kona Tarun／Ashwini Ponnappa (India) vs. Johannes Schoettler／Johanna Goliszewski (Germany)