Yonex US Open Preview (Part 3 of 5)
Suffolk County Community College
by Kota Morikawa
The biggest news about this year’s US Open is Lee Chong Wei’s appearance. The tournament, June 16–21 at the Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, New York, is the first BWF’s Grand Prix Gold tournament since the Olympic race began May 4th. It is not only two-time Olympic Silver Medalist Lee Chong Wei who is competing in the six-day excitement, but also many other top world ranked players. This is Badminton Monthly’s US Open Preview Part 3 of 5 time series. World ranking number indicated in () is as of June 2.
Women’s Doubles Preview
Japan’s Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa (6) is the likely winner of this category, but there is former world #1 Yu Yang of China pairing up with former world #2 Zhong Qianxin. The hybrid pair’s intention to participate in the US Open is unclear, but they clearly are another favorite.
Favorite: Miyuki Maeda/Reika Kakiiwa, WR #6 (Japan)
The Japanese #2 pair has been consistent in both the Superseries and Grand Prix tournaments as they finished third in Singapore Open SP, Denmark Open SP, Japan Open SP and World Championships last year. As they have struggled beating Chinese pairs in the past two years, the key to their first major title is winning over the teams from China.
2nd Choice: Yu Yang/Zhong Qianxin, no ranking (China)
The hybrid Chinese pair might take Gold as they have so much competitive experience. Former world ranking #1 Yang is a numerous Superseries title holder regularly with her partner Xiaoli Wang, and Qianxin has reached world ranking #2 in 2013 with her then partner Bao Yixin.
3rd Choice: Eefje Muskens/Selena Piek, WR #9 (Netherland)
The Netherlands top pair has been a consistent contender as they have regularly achieved quarterfinal finishes in the past Superseries tournaments (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore). While they are one of few world top pairs from Europe continent in an Asian-dominated category, it would be a great achievement to win the title here in New York over strong Asian pairs.
The former world #3 pair Shizuka Matsuo/Mami Naito of Japan has a shot for a surprise victory as the team has had good results consistently since finishing third in the French Open Superseries last year. India’s frontrunner pair, Jwala Gutta/Ashwini Ponnappa (18) will also be a dark horse to watch as they have been competing regularly against powerhouse Asian countries. One last pair that could surprise the top seeded pairs is Naoko Fukuman/Kurumi Yonao of Japan. The winner of last year’s US International has had several upset wins in the past tournaments. Once they play consistently against lower ranked pairs in the early stage, they might appear in a semifinal. Oh, and we can’t forget last year’s winner, Vita Marissa of Indonesia playing with Komala Dewi (214).