Axelsen, Ratchanok out for redemption at Malaysian Masters

File pix of Denmark's Viktor Axelsen celebrating after winning against Malaysia's Lee Zii Jia during their men's singles semi-final match at the Indonesian Open in Jakarta in 2022. - AFP.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Masters beginning at Axiata Arena here on Tuesday is expected to be an explosive affair with Danish ace Viktor Axelsen and Thai badminton queen Ratchanok Intanon out to redeem themselves.

Axelsen, who won the men's singles title in 2018, is the top seed while Ratchanok, who triumphed in 2018 and 2019, is seeded fourth.

Former world champion Axelsen, 30, has yet to win any title this year, with his best performance being quarter-final appearances at the Malaysia Open and European championship.

The world number one and reigning Olympic champion won't have it easy in the Malaysian Masters, which will parade the likes of world number four and second seed Anders Antonsen of Denmark, Li Shifeng of China (world No. 6), Kunlavut Vitidsarn of Thailand (8th) and Loh Kean Yew of Singapore (13th).

World No. 10 Lee Zii Jia will be leading the Malaysian challenge.

Ratchanok, who has been struggling despite winning the Spain Masters 2024, will definitely want to put up a good showing to improve her number 12 ranking before the Paris Olympics begins on July 26.

However, she will find it tough in the presence of two Chinese players, top seed and world number seven Han Yue and world number eight Wang Zhi Yi, Zhang Beiwen of the United States (world no. 10) and India's PV Sindhu (14).

"Just like last year which saw many pulsating matches with long rallies, this year's tournament promises to be keenly contested as players will use it as a warm-up for the Olympics," the organisers said in a statement today.

"Although just a Super 500 tournament after the Olympic qualifying period, the Malaysian Masters has managed to attract four singles players in the world's top 10." - Bernama

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