With the Northern Marianas Open preceding the Saipan International, there will be many players taking the opportunity to play in two BWF Grade 3 events in as many weeks.
With a slight shuffle of seeds and positions from the Northern Marianas Open to the Saipan International, there will be a lot of global talent on display come week two of badminton in Saipan.
In the men’s singles, the fifth seed, Jeon Hyeok (KOR) will be a strong contender to work his way through the draw after recently being a member of the Korean team that came runner up at the recent TOTAL BWF World Mixed Team Championships. Also playing men’s singles is his teammate, Lee Yun Gyu who won the deciding match to secure Korea a place in the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup final against eventual winners, China.
Kevin Cordon (GUA) is once again the number one seed as he is in the Northern Marianas Open. Cordon will be looking at a possible doubles podium finish from these two tournaments.
As is the case in the Northern Marianas Open, the women’s singles are one of two events that has a qualifying draw. Eight players from the Asia and Oceania regions will contest the four available main draw positions.
Nge Joo Jie and Johann Prajogo (SIN), who are also playing in the Northern Marianas Open, have great history together as a doubles pair. Coming through junior competitions, Nge and Prajogo had a number one BWF junior world ranking in 2022. 2023 is their first year as senior players on the Grade 3 circuit where they will undoubtably try to make their mark in the years ahead.
Shin Seung Chan and women’s doubles partner, Lee Yu Lim from Korea are seeded fourth in this tournament, however Shin was ranked as high as number two in the world in 2022. Now playing with a new partner, the pair recently won the women’s doubles at the Osaka International Challenge and the Yonex Sunrise Vietnam International. Being at the top half of the draw, there is the potential for meeting the number one seeds from Chinese Taipei, 31-year-old Hsu Ya Ching and Lin Wang Ching who carry their seeding through from the Northern Marianas Open.
At the recent Osaka International Challenge, Wang Chan and Shin Seung Chan won the mixed doubles final over their compatriots, Kim Young Hyuk, and Lee Yu Lim. There is the opportunity for the tables to be turned at the Saipan International with Kim/Lee securing the position of number two seeds over Wang/Chan who are unseeded. Making it to the final will be a challenge as they will have to overcome number three seeds from Australia, Kenneth Choo and Gronya Sommerville and number one seeds, Chang Ko-Chi and Lee Chih Chen (TPE).
The mixed doubles are the second event with a qualifying draw. A single match between Shuntaro Mezaki/Hina Osawa (JAP) and from Guam, Allan Zeng/Kristine Deng will secure the final place in the main draw.
The Saipan International 2023 is being played 13-18 June in Saipan.
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