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SkyCity NZ Badminton Open Underway Tomorrow

15-19 April 2014, North Shore Events Centre

14 April 2014

For immediate release from the SKYCITY Badminton NZ Open, for further information visit www.nzbadmintonopen.com

SkyCity NZ Badminton Open Underway Tomorrow

A host of international players and the leading New Zealanders have arrived in Auckland for the SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open which gets underway tomorrow at the North Shore Events Centre, with qualifying in the morning and the first round of singles action starting at 3.30pm with all events underway on Wednesday.

Interest in the tournament is high with former world number 1 Le Hyun Il (Korea) in the men’s singles and former world number 1 doubles player Koo Kien Keat (Malaysia) teaming up with countryman Vilailak Pakkawat as 5th seeds in the men’s doubles.

Le Hyun is unseeded as he continues a comeback to the top of the sport, the London Olympic Games semifinalist has already won a tournament in Korea this year as he returns from a largely club based exile. For Y Krishnan (India) being seeded 13 has indeed proven unlucky, the 3rd ranked Indian in the men’s singles has drawn the dangerous Le Hyun in the first round of singles in what shapes as the game of the round.

For the New Zealanders it is a rare chance to play a Grand Prix status tournament at home and in the process chase vital ranking points as they look to earn nomination to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games later this year.

The Kiwis have fared reasonably well in the first round draw across all events, with Joe Wu (8th seed) drawing Chun-Bong Wong (Australia) in his first game and the prospect of another Aussie or an all-New Zealand second round clash with 17 year old North Harbour rising prospect Nicco Tagle up against Joe Wheeler (Australia) in the first round.

15th seed Michael Fowke (NZ) has a Malaysian opponent in the first round and the prospect of a third round clash with top seed Hsu Yen Hao (Chinese Taipei) should he safely negotiate his first two games.

In the women’s singles, 4th seeded Kiwi Michelle Chan has drawn a Chinese Taipei player in the first round but with just 4 players enjoying the protection of seeding, Chan knows that danger is lurking at every round as she continues her return to the top of the sport and aims up at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Young North Harbour prospect Gaea Galvez faces the daunting task of the number 2 seed Cheng Chi Ya (Chinese Taipei), in a game that will if nothing else provide the young New Zealander with a great taste of top flight badminton, along with the chance to be a giant killer early in the tournament.

In the men’s doubles 7th seeded New Zealanders Kevin Dennerly-Minturn and Oliver Leydon-Davis take on Aussies Michael Fariman and Mitchell Wheller in the first round and while they are on the other side of the draw to former world number 1 Kien Keat Koo (Malaysia – 5th seed with Pakkawat Vilaila from Thailand), they face a match up with the top seeds (Chinese Taipei) in the quarter-finals if they progress to that stage of the tournament. The Kiwis will carry good confidence into the SKYCITY NZ Open after a strong win over the world number 35 ranked pairing at the Singapore Open last week.

In the mixed doubles, New Zealand provides the top seeds in Oliver Leydon-Davis and Susannah Leydon-Davis, the Waikato brother/sister combination face an Aussie pairing in the first round and are seeded to play another Aussie pair in Ross Smith and Renuga Veeran in the final, again should they live up to their seeding.

The women’s doubles has a large number of byes in the first round, with Anna Rankin and Madeleine Stapleton at number 3 seeds the highest ranked of the New Zealanders one of a number of pairings to progress straight to the second round.

Play begins at the North Shore Events Centre at 9.00am on Tuesday for qualifying, with the singles main draw starting at 3.00pm. On Wednesday play is from 10.00amand includes an evening session, Thursday 10.00am start with quarter-finals from 5.30pm while Friday sees semi-finals from 12.30pm and then Saturday is finals day, with play from 12.30pm.

• Tickets are available at the door or online through Event Finder, CLICK HERE for details.

• Pricing starts as low as $10 for adults and free for children for some sessions, full pricing details and hospitality packages, CLICK HERE

• For the full draw for all events, CLICK HERE

• A daily release will be distributed at approximately 6pm each evening, along with a free to use editorial image. For evening sessions and separate late posting of key results will be distributed at the end of the day’s play.

Media are welcome to attend and cover the event on a daily basis or to make contact for regular reports and updates. Accreditation is required, however this can be issued on a daily basis.

ENDS

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