PETALING JAYA: The last two Olympic men’s singles final battles have been between Malaysia’s Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan of China but it will not happen in Rio this time.
In the men’s singles draw made for the Rio Olympics, top seed Chong Wei may have to face the defending champion in the semi-finals.
Third seeded Lin Dan will not have it easy to reach the medal rounds as he could be facing fifth seed Jan O Jorgensen of Denmark in the last eight.
Chong Wei, on the other hand, has an easier route to the semis as he is expected to face Taiwan’s sixth seed Chou Tien-chen in the quarter-finals.
Chong Wei, making his fourth Olympic appearance and going for gold after settling for silvers in Beijing and London previously, should breeze through to win Group A, which includes Soren Opti of Surinam and Derek Wong of Singapore.
The respective winner of the group stages in the singles will qualify for the knockout rounds.
Chong Wei gets a bye straight to the last eight as one of the top two seeds.
Second seed and reigning world champion Chen Long of China can breathe a sigh of relief as he will not face his fellow countryman until the final.
Chen Long will probably take on South Korean Son Wan-ho in the last eight.
The world No. 2 shuttler should face fourth seed Viktor Axelsen of Denmark for a place in the final.
In men’s doubles, Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong have Zhang Nan-Fu Haifeng of China for company in Group B.
The Chinese fourth seeded pair should be their toughest opponents in the group, which also includes Germans Michael Fuchs-Johannes Schottle and Americans Sattawat Pongnairat-Phillip Chew.
Mixed doubles pair Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying can fancy their chances of reaching the last eight in Rio this time.
The world No. 10 Malaysian pairing should emerge as one of the two pairs to go through to the knockout stage as they are in Group C with third seeds Tontowi Ahmad -Lilyana Natsir of Indonesia, Robin Middleton-Leanne Choo of Australia and Bodin Issara-Savitree Amitrapai of Thailand.
They are expected to cruise past the Australian and Thai pairs, which will see them through to the last eight after failing to clear the group matches at the last Olympics in London.
It is also a good draw for women’s doubles pair Vivian Hoo-Woon Khe Wei as they are in Group C with third seeds Nitya Krishinda Maheswari-Greysia Polii of Indonesia, Heather Olver-Lauren Smith of England and Poon Lok Yan-Tse Ying Suet of Hong Kong.