Badminton: Star-studded field for NZ Open

By David Leggat

Korean women's singles star Jung Ji Hyun, world No 5, will be at the New Zealand badminton open. Photo / Getty
Korean women's singles star Jung Ji Hyun, world No 5, will be at the New Zealand badminton open. Photo / Getty

Auckland's growing reputation for hosting a quality event is paying off, on the evidence of the fields who will turn up at this month's New Zealand badminton open this month.

There are 52 players or pairs inside the top 50 on world rankings, with 20 inside the top 20; eight in the top 10.

"Now that the draw is out and the seedings are confirmed, it is becoming very real just how good this tournament is and what a boost for the sport it will be," Badminton New Zealand chief executive Joe Hitchcock said.

The highest individually ranked player is Korean Sung Ji Hyun, world No 5 at the time of entry, who is top seed in the women's singles, while fellow Koreans Ko Sung Hyun and Kim Ha Na head the mixed doubles seedings and were world No 4 combination. The top four combinations are all sitting inside the world's top 13.

The Koreans have a sweep of the top seedings across the disciplines. The men's top seed is Son Wan Ho, who was 13th at entry time.

The feature event at the Grand Prix Gold tournament could be the men's doubles, wheree the top seven seeds are all inside the world's top 23, and would have been even stronger but for the late withdrawl of current world No 1 combination Lee Yong Dae and Yoo Yeon Seong.

Asian nations dominate the seedings but there are entries from the United States, France and Russia among the draws.

The tournament arrives at a late point in the Olympic qualifying window, which increases its importance. There's also a sense the event is getting good traction among the leading players. That has helped in having champions from last year in the fields returning this time.

New Zealand Open, North Shore Events Centre, from March 22
Prizemoney: $US120,000

Seedings

Men's singles:
1: Son Wan Ho (Korea, world No 13 at time of entry)
2: Ajay Jayaram (India, 21)
3: Lee Dong Keun (Korea, 22)
4: Hsu Jen Hao (Taiwan, 25)

Women's singles:
1: Sung Ji Hyun (Korea, 5)
2: Yui Hashimoto (Japan, 14)
3: Bae Yeon Ju (Korea, 15)
4: Lindaweni Fanetri (Indonesia, 24)

Men's doubles:
1: Kim Sa Rang/Kim Gi Jung (Korea, 6)
2: Ko Sung Hyun/Shin Baek Cheol (Korea, 9)
3: Angga Pratama/Ricky Karanda Suwardi (Indonesia, 11)
4: Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo/Gideon Fernaldi (Indonesia (14).

Women's doubles:
1: Jung Kyung Eun/Shin Seung Chan (Korea, 6)
2: Chang Ye Na/Lee So Hee (Korea, 7)
3: Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa (Japan, 13)
Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa (India, 15)

Mixed doubles:
1: Ko Sung Hyun/Kim Ha Na (Korea, 4)
2: Shin Baek Cheol/Chae Yoo Jung (Korea, 11)
3: Peng Soon Chan/Liu Ying Goh (Malaysia, 12)
4: Sol Gyu Choi/Eom Hye Won (Korea, 13)

- NZ Herald

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