World No.1 and crowd favourite Viktor Axelsen headlines list of big guns vying for Singapore Badminton Open


Viktor Axelsen has been more cautious with his schedule in 2024 as he manages injuries in his left leg. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Men’s singles world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen is delighted to be making a return to the May 28-June 2 Singapore Badminton Open in a bid to win his first title in the Lion City.

The 30-year-old Dane said: “Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from the tournament last year due to injury. I’m excited to be back for the KFF Singapore Badminton Open this May, and I can’t wait to meet my fans there.”

After winning seven out of eight finals in 2023 to build a clear lead in the world rankings, Axelsen has been more cautious with his schedule in 2024.

He has to manage injuries in his left leg ahead of the defence of his Olympic title at the July 26-Aug 11 Paris Games.

His best finish at the Singapore Open was the semi-finals in 2012 and 2019, but he will face stiff opposition as defending champion and world No. 7 Anthony Ginting seeks an unprecedented hat-trick in the professional era.

The 27-year-old Indonesian said: “I always look forward to playing in the Singapore Badminton Open. The competition in the men’s singles is always tight, but I want to enjoy my matches one at a time.”

Other notable challengers are his compatriot and world No. 3 Jonatan Christie, who won the All England Open and Badminton Asia Championships in 2024, and local hope and world No. 12 Loh Kean Yew, who snapped his 833-day title drought at the Madrid Spain Masters in March.

In the women’s singles, South Korea’s world No. 1 An Se-young, who clinched a whopping 10 titles in 2023 and followed up with wins at the Malaysian Open and French Open in 2024, will be looking to retain her Singapore Open title.

But Chinese Taipei’s world No. 5 Tai Tzu-ying will want to mark her retirement year with one last hurrah at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, where she launched her career.

The 29-year-old told The Straits Times: “Singapore is special to me because I was just 16 when I made the final as a qualifier. I still remember the crowd singing Happy Birthday to me, even though I lost to Saina Nehwal in the final.

“I’ll always have fond memories of Singapore. This would be my last Singapore Badminton Open, and I’m looking forward to performing my best for the fans there.”

Looking to spoil her party are China’s world No. 2 Chen Yufei, compatriot Wang Zhiyi, the winner of the Badminton Asia Championships and Indonesia Masters, as well as Singapore’s Yeo Jia Min, who exited in the round of 16 in the last two editions.

Besides Ginting and An, Japan’s world No. 6 men’s doubles duo Takuro Hoki and Yugo Kobayashi, China’s top-ranked women’s doubles pair Chen Qingchen and Jia Yifan, and Denmark’s world No. 10 mixed doubles combination Mathias Christiansen and Alexandra Boje will be back to defend their crowns at the US$850,000 (S$1.16 million) event.

Starting from $100, season tickets for the tournament are on sale at www.sistic.com.sg/events/badminton0624

Fans can also opt for The Champion Club, a new $1,000 category offering exclusive privileges designed to enhance their Singapore Badminton Open experience. - The Straits Times/ANN

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Singapore Open , Badminton , Big Guns , Vying , for Title

   

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