Korea are in Group C of the Uber Cup, with a strong team that is capable of making the semifinals and beyond at the TotalEnergies BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals 2020. The Koreans will be confident of topping the group, for Chinese Taipei, Tahiti and Egypt are unlikely to trouble them.
Korea’s obvious strength is its first singles (An Seyoung) and two doubles (Kim Soyeong/Kong Heeyong and Lee Sohee/Shin Seungchan), but a few other teams, such as China, Japan and Thailand, are also strong in these departments, so the second singles could become pivotal. Kim Gaeun is likely to handle this role, and while the world No.17 has ability and experience, she hasn’t yet had her breakthrough moment. The Uber Cup could provide that stage for the tall 23-year-old.
In the third singles, Korea will depend on No.55 Sim Yu Jin (22), and No.146 Jeon Jui (26), who are yet to make headway at the top level, and so Kim Gaeun’s role becomes critical.
Chinese Taipei’s fortunes will hinge on Pai Yu Po in the first singles and Hsu Ya Ching/Hu Ling Fang in doubles; while for Egypt, Doha Hany, Hadia Hosny and Nour Ahmed Youssri are the key players.
Thomas Cup: China Bank on Youth
Having won the Sudirman Cup, China now will look to defend their Thomas Cup title. In Group C with India, Netherlands and Tahiti, the Chinese will be wary of India.
The returning doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy/Chirag Shetty add muscle to the Indian squad after their lean look last week; while in singles, Sai Praneeth, Kidambi Srikanth and Sameer Verma are likely to shoulder singles responsibilities and could cause China some concerns, particularly in the second and third singles.
Apart from Shi Yu Qi, who guided China to Sudirman Cup glory with his sensational performance in the final, the other two singles – Lu Guang Zu and Li Shi Feng – are still finding their way at the elite level. In doubles the Chinese had to field a scratch combination in the Sudirman Cup, and it will be interesting to see whether they persist with He Ji Ting and Zhou Hao Dong. They do have options, with Tan Qiang, Liu Cheng, Wang Yi Lyu, and young pair Di Zi Jian/Wang Chang.
Netherlands have a new-look squad, with the best-known name being Mark Caljouw. Familiar names such as Robin Tabeling and Jelle Maas are missing; their top doubles pair will be Ruben Jille and Ties Van Der Lecq.