Friday, February 12, 2010

Luck of the draw?

The path to Kuala Lumpur appears straightforward for Indonesia’s men, but the women face a tougher road.

Thursday’s draw for Thomas and Uber Cup Asia zone qualifying pitted the Indonesian women against Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand. With the Koreans an obvious favorite, Indonesia must beat out regional rivals Singapore and Thailand to advance from Group X.

“Yes, looking for a victory over the Koreans will be a hard job, especially because they have good women’s doubles. We have a good opportunity to beat the other three teams,” Indonesia coach Aryono Miranat said on Thursday.

“We must be aware, especially against Thailand. They will play in front a home crowd. The players must be smart and take a careful approach from the first match against any team.”

Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, hosts both qualifying tournaments from Feb. 22-28. The tournament proper takes place in Kuala Lumpur on May 9-16.

Indonesia’s women, looking for their first title since 1996, should beat Sri Lanka with ease. That leaves matches against Thailand, led by world No. 14 singles shuttler Ponsana Salakjit, and Singapore to decide the second semifinal place.

The top two teams from each group advance to a four-team playoff. The top three teams from the playoff qualify for Kuala Lumpur automatically, while the fourth-place team qualifies if its world rank is better than the fourth-place team from Europe.

Group Y consists of Hong Kong, India, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Indonesia’s men, the top seeds in qualifying, face a less taxing draw in Group A after being placed with Singapore and Vietnam. The Group A winner will take on the runner-up in Group B, which includes Hong Kong, the Philippines and Taiwan.

“Well, the draw is good enough for us, thank God. I’m optimistic we can win the group,” men’s doubles shuttler Markis Kido said.

Thomas Cup
Group A: Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam
Group B: Hong Kong, Philippines, Taiwan
Group C: Cambodia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand
Group D: Japan, Laos, South Korea
Uber Cup
Group X: Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand
Group Y: Hong Kong, India, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan.

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