By K.M. BOOPATHY


LEE Chong Wei is not expected to face any difficulty in his quest to win a third All England crown but men's doubles Koo Kien Keat-Tan Boon Heong are not so lucky.

The struggling pair -- if the seedings are any indication -- face the prospect of meeting either Olympic champions Cai Yun-Fu Haifeng of China or bogeymen Kim Ki Jung-Kim Sa Rang of South Korea in the quarter-finals in the March 5-10 event.

Chong Wei, the top seed, should avoid China duo Chen Long, seeded second and Du Pengyu, seeded third until the final and is expected to face fourth seeded Sony Dwi Kuncoro of Indonesia in the last four.

The World No 1 should clear the last eight with ease as he could play either Chen Jin of China, the fifth seed, or eighth seeded Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.

Chong Wei was denied his hat-trick of All England titles by Lin Dan last year but the latter's absence makes it easier for the Malaysian this time.

However, second seeds Kien Keat-Boon Heong face another early exit should they meet Ki Jung-Sa Rang, the sixth seeds, or Cai Yun-Haifeng, the seventh seeds, in the last eight.

The only consolation for Kien Keat-Boon Heong is that they should be able to survive the preliminary stage after suffering a second round defeat to Hong Wei-Shen Ye of China in Birmingham last year.

National doubles chief coach Tan Kim Her said it is about time Kien Keat-Boon Heong start performing better to maintain their position in the top four to receive a favourable seeding for the World Championships in August.

"Sung Hyun-Yong Dae are most likely to move up a spot to World No 2 while other pairs can also overtake them if Kien Keat-Boon Heong lose early in the All England. They must start performing and think about winning against the Korean pairs and Cai Yun-Haifeng," said Kim Her.

"They have been playing almost the same pairs in the later stages and they must, at least, start reaching the final or they will find themselves out of the top eight very soon.

"If they are not seeded in the top four for the World Championships, it will be very difficult for them to achieve their target of going for the title.

"The good thing is that they have a new coach in Paulus (Firman) and both must sit down with him and start finding ways to beat the top pairs again."

Mixed doubles Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying are the only other Malaysians seeded in the All England and the No 3 seeds have good chance of avoiding China pairs Xu Chen-Ma Majin and Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei.

There is a strong possibility Xu Chen-Majin, the top seeds, may clash with Zhang Nan-Zhao Yunlei in the semi-finals while Peng Soon-Liu Ying should have a fighting chance of battling for a place in the final from the bottom half.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying may clash with either Sudket Prapakamol-Saralee Thungthongkam of Thailand or Indonesia's Muhammad Rijal-Debby Susanto in the last eight and most likely take on second seeded Ahmad Tantowi-Liliyana Natsir of Indonesia in the last four.

Peng Soon-Liu Ying reached the semi-finals of the All England for the first time last year.