THIS WEEK I: Winter isn’t quite here yet; U.S.’s Dershwitz looks for Sabre gold in Egypt

American Sabre fencing star Eli Dershwitz

We’re just finishing the transition to winter sports this week, so the schedule is a little light. In the first of two preview sets for this week, we look ahead to action in badminton, beach volleyball, fencing and table tennis:

● BADMINTON ● Top Doubles teams face off in Hong Kong Open

The BWF World Tour is at the Hong Kong Coliseum this week for the Yonex-Sunrise Hong Kong Open, with $400,000 in prize money on the line and a great line-up of stars in the Doubles brackets.

In both the men’s and women’s draws, the top three teams in the BWF World Rankings will be in action, headlined by Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA) for the men and Yuki Fukushima and Sayaka Hirota for the women. Both posted major wins last weekend in the Fuzhou China Open and both are defending champions in this event from 2018 (the Indonesians are two-time defenders!).

The no. 1-ranked Singles players, Japan’s Kento Momota and Tzu Ying Tai (TPE), both withdrew, as did Mixed Doubles leaders Siwei Zheng and Yaqiong Huang (CHN). The top seeds:

Men/Singles: 1. Tien-Chen Chou (TPE: 2); 2. Yuqi Shi (CHN: 7); 3. Anders Antonsen (DEN: 3).

Men/Doubles: 1. Marcus Fernaldi Gideon/Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo (INA: 1); 2. Mohammad Ahsan/Hendra Setiawan (INA: 2); 3. Junhui Li/Yuchen Liu (CHN: 3).

Women/Singles: 1. Akane Yamaguchi (JPN: 4); 2. Yufei Chen (CHN: 3); 3. Nozomi Okuhara (JPN: 2).

Women/Doubles: 1. Mayu Matsumoto/Wakana Nagahara (JPN: 3); 2. Yuki Fukushima/Sayaka Hirota (JPN: 1); 3. Qingchen Chen/Yifan Jia (CHN: 2).

Mixed Doubles: 1. Yilyu Wang/Dongping Huang (CHN: 2); 2. Dechapol Puavaranukroh/Sapirsee Taerattanachai (THA: 4); 3. Yuta Watanabe/Arisa Higashino (JPN: 3).

The Singles winners will receive $30,000, then 15,200-5,800-5,800 for the top four places; the Doubles purse includes $31,600-15,200-5,600-5,600 for the top four. Look for results here.

● BEACH VOLLEYBALL ● Strong U.S. teams in first World Tour 4-star, in Chetumal

The first FIVB World Tour 4-star tournaments for 2019-20 comes this week in Chetumal, Mexico, with a good field entered, although not the top stars. The top seeds:

1. Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen (NED) ~ 2013 World Champions
2. Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl (POL) ~ Three World Tour medals in 2018-19
3. Taylor Crabb/Jacob Gibb (USA) ~ 4th at 2019 World Tour Final

1. Taliqua Clancy/Mariafe Artacho (AUS) ~ 2019 World Championships bronze medalists
2. Madelein Meppelink/Sanne Keizer (NED) ~ 2019 Ostrava Open bronze medalists
3. Barbara Seixas/Fernanda Alves (BRA) ~ Barbara: 2016 Olympic silver

The U.S. is well represented, with Trevor Crabb and Tri Bourne also seeded fifth for the men, and Brooke Sweat/Kerri Walsh Jennings (6) and Sarah Sponcil/Kelly Claes (7) also seeded in the top 10. Look for results here.

● FENCING ● Men’s Sabre World Cup opener in Cairo

The FIE World Cup season for the men’s Sabre stars opens this week at the indoor complex of the Cairo Stadium in Egypt, with individual competition on Friday and Saturday and the Team event on Sunday. A large field of 194 fencers will start, with eight of the top 10-ranked Sabreistas entered:

1. Sang-Uk Oh (KOR) ~ 2019 World Champion
2. Eli Dershwitz (USA) ~ 2018 Worlds silver medalist
3. Max Hatung (GER)
4. Luca Curatoli (ITA) ~ 2019 Worlds bronze medalist
7. Veniamen Reshetnikov (RUS)
8. Sandro Bazadze (GEO)
9. Bolade Apithy (FRA)
10. Mojtaba Abedini (IRI) ~ 2019 Worlds bronze medalist

Dershwitz, 24, will be looking for his fifth career World Cup medal; he’s won at least one in each of the past three seasons. Look for results here.

● TABLE TENNIS ● Two-time Worlds medalist Fan headlines Austrian Open in Linz

The 12th of 13 stages of the ITTF World Tour is in Linz, Austria for the annual Austrian Open. The top seeds, along with world rankings in Singles only:

Men/Singles: 1. Zhendong Fan (CHN: 2); 2. Gaoyuan Lin (CHN: 4); 3. Tomokazu Harimoto (JPN: 5).

Men/Doubles: 1. Youngsik Jeoung/Sangsu Lee (KOR); 2. Cheng-Ting Liao/Yun-Ju Lin (KOR); 3. Jingkun Liang/Gaoyuan Lin (CHN).

Women/Singles: 1. Yuling Zhu (CHN: 3); 2. Shiwen Liu (CHN: 5); 3. Mima Ito (JPN: 7).

Women/Doubles: 1. Miyuu Kihara/Miyu Nagasaki (JPN); 2. Hoi Kem Doo/Ho Ching Lee (HKG); 3. Barbora Balazova (SVK)/Hana Matelova (CZE).

Mixed Doubles: 1. Chun Ting Wong/Hoi Kem Doo (HKG); 2. Yun-Ju Lin/I-ching Cheng (TPE); 3. Jun Mizutani/Mima Ito (JPN).

Fan, as a two-time World Championships medalist – and ranked no. 2 in the U.S. – is the focus, and only two of the 2018 tournament winners are back: China’s Jingkun Liang in the men’s Singles and Japan’s Ito in the women’s Singles. Look for results here.