Some stars will be missing but no loss of lustre at Malaysian Masters

PETALING JAYA: The absence of several top shuttlers will not dilute the competition in the Malaysian Masters from May 21-26 at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil.

The World Tour Super 500 level event will be without many top players as the Paris Olympics qualification would have concluded at the end of April.

The tournament, though, will still be keenly fought out especially in the men’s singles where seven of the world’s current top 10 have registered.

Leading the big names are Denmark’s world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen (pic), followed by world No. 4 Anders Antonsen, Indonesian duo Jonatan Christie (No. 3) and Anthony Ginting (No. 7), China’s Li Shifeng (No. 6), Thailand’s reigning world champion Kunlavut Vitidsarn (No. 8) and homester Lee Zii Jia (No. 10).

Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) president Norza Zakaria said the competition will be exciting for the fans as some top players will still be in action.

“The tournament might be after the Olympics qualifying window but there will still be some top players competing,” said Norza.

“The players want to get a competitive environment and will be fighting to be seeded for the Olympics.

“In the men’s singles, many players in the top 10 have registered including Zii Jia.”

Norza also expressed his hope that the local shuttlers will finally end the wait for a first home winner in the tournament since mixed doubles pair Tan Kian Meng-Lai Pei Jing triumphed in 2017.

Men’s doubles pair Man Wei Chong-Tee Kai Wun and women’s doubles duo Pearly Tan-M. Thinaah came close to winning the title last year but had to settle for second best after going down fighting in three games to South Koreans Kang Min-hyuk-Seo Seung-jae and Baek Ha-na-Lee So-hee respectively.

The Malaysian pairs’ chances of capturing the title this time are brighter due to the absence of many top pairs.

World No. 14 Pearly-Thinaah, Aaron Chia-Soh Wooi Yik (men’s doubles) and Chen Tang Jie-Toh Ee Wei (mixed doubles) are all set to be seeded second.

Japan’s world No. 12 Rin Iwanaga-Kie Nakanishi and Denmark’s world No. 4 Kim Astrup-Anders Skaarup Rasmussen are set to be the top seeds in the women’s and men’s doubles respectively while Thailand’s 2021 world champions Dechapol Puavaranukroh-Sapsiree Taerattanachai will be the top ranked mixed doubles pair in the tournament.

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Badminton , Malaysian Masters , Bukit Jalil


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