With the draws released for the Northern Marianas Open 2023, excitement is building as there are a number of profile players with some interesting badminton history competing at the tournament.
Host city Saipan will be a buzz with the inclusion of former world number 1, Son Wan Ho from Korea in the men’s singles. As well as holding the number one world ranking in 2017, Son also represented his country at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. Son has a current world ranking of 155 and is unseeded, however will potentially come up against Kevin Cordon from Guatemala, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games semifinalist, who is the top seed, in the third round which will undoubtedly be a match to attract a large crowd.
Yushi Tanaka (JPN), winner of the VICTOR North Harbour International 2022 and more recently the Osaka International Challenge 2023 brings both experience and good form into the Northern Marianas Open as third seed playing Jack Yu (AUS) who recently played at the TOTALEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals in China, in the first round.
The women’s singles is one of two events to have a qualification draw. Competition will be fierce with the top four seeds all ranked in the top 50 in the world. Australia’s Louisa Ma plays a qualifier in the first round before coming up against SUNG Shuo Yun (TPE) while Oceania 2023 champion Tiffany Ho plays eighth seed Chiu Pin-Chian in the first round.
Having won the VICTOR North Harbour International 2022 and Bendigo International 2022, the men’s doubles pair from Chinese Taipei: Chang Ko-Chi & Po Li-Wei who are seeded top with a current world ranking of 33 will looking to add another title to their collection. A pair to watch will be twins Fang-Chih Lee and Fang-Jen Lee (TPE) who are seeded third with a world ranking of 41 who have just beaten world ranked pair 17 Ben Lane and Sean Vendy (ENG) in the first round at the PERODUA Malaysia Masters which is currently being played.
Returning after time away from competitive badminton, Setyana Mapasa (AUS) has teamed up with a new partner; youngster Angela Yu in the women’s doubles. They will play Cheng Yu-Pei and Sun Wen Pei currently ranked 95 in the world in the first round.
The mixed doubles is the second event with a qualification draw. After reaching the quarterfinals at the recent Dubai Asia Championships 2023, top seeds and currently ranked 27th in the world Chang Ko-Chi and Lee Chih Chen (TPE) will be looking to lock in their first title for the year. Representing the Oceania region, there are six mixed doubles pairs; five from Australia and one from New Zealand. Included in this line up are Kenneth Choo and Gronya Sommerville who have already won two international titles this year: the VICTOR Oceania Championships and the FZ FORZA Dutch International. They won the only match for Australia at the TOTALEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals in Suzhou, China.
While the attention will mainly focus on the large groups from Chinese Taipei, Japan and Korea there will be plenty of local support for players from both the host country; Northern Marians and neighbours Guam as they play in their first BWF international grade 3 tournament.
The Northern Marianas Open 2023 is being played 6-11 June in Saipan.
For further information on the Northern Marianas Open 2023 click here
Photo credit: @badmintonphoto_official