Liang promises to do her best to upset Sun

Sun Yu of China (left) leaps for an overhead against Bae Yeon Ju of South Korea at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad, India last month. Sun, the OUE Singapore Open defending champion, will face the Republic's Liang Xiaoyu (above) in
Sun Yu of China (above) leaps for an overhead against Bae Yeon Ju of South Korea at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad, India last month. Sun, the OUE Singapore Open defending champion, will face the Republic's Liang Xiaoyu in the first round.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Sun Yu of China (left) leaps for an overhead against Bae Yeon Ju of South Korea at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad, India last month. Sun, the OUE Singapore Open defending champion, will face the Republic's Liang Xiaoyu (above) in
Sun Yu of China leaps for an overhead against Bae Yeon Ju of South Korea at the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Hyderabad, India last month. Sun, the OUE Singapore Open defending champion, will face the Republic's Liang Xiaoyu (above) in the first round.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Home comforts are not likely to mean much for Singapore's female shuttlers after they were handed tough draws for the April 12-17 OUE Singapore Open.

Liang Xiaoyu, the Republic's top woman badminton player, will face defending champion Sun Yu of China in the first round of the event at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Even if Liang manages an improbable upset, she will likely face Japan's newly crowned All England champion Nozomi Okuhara, who stunned China's Wang Shixian in the final of the world's oldest badminton tournament on March 13 and is now the world No. 3.

In a press statement, Liang, 20, said: "I'm excited about competing against strong opponents. What I hope most is to adjust my attitude and perform to my best level in the competition.

"Even though I'm competing against the defending champion, I will keep (calm) and do my best to win."

Also facing an uphill task are the doubles pair of Elaine Chua and Citra Dewi Sari, who will face world No. 1s and reigning All England champions Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi, also of Japan.

In the men's draw, China's freshly minted All England singles champion Lin Dan will start his Singapore adventure against Indonesia's Ihsan Maulana Mustofa.

The 32-year-old two-time Olympic champion last played at the Singapore Open in 2011.

Lin, who also won the German Open this month, said: "Having won two competitions consecutively (Germany and England), I feel good about my current condition.

"I still enjoy the thrill of winning very much and I hope to play my best in Singapore (which is the last Superseries before the Olympics qualifying period closes)."

Singapore's other representatives in the main draw are their two mixed doubles pairs.

Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Vanessa Neo will play the Netherlands' Jacco Arends and Selena Piek in the first round, while Terry Hee and Tan Wei Han take on South Korean duo Choi Solgyu and Eom Hye Won.

Tickets for the OUE Singapore Open are available from www.sportshubtix.sg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 24, 2016, with the headline 'Liang promises to do her best to upset Sun'. Print Edition | Subscribe