Badminton: Strong opening draw for April 9-14 Singapore Open

China's two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion Lin Dan (left) will face third seed and former world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the first round of the men's singles at the Singapore Badminton Open.
China's two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion Lin Dan (left) will face third seed and former world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the first round of the men's singles at the Singapore Badminton Open.PHOTOS: EPA-EFE, REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Fans can look forward to a blockbuster start to the April 9-14 Singapore Badminton Open at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, with stars clashing in the opening round.

In the draw conducted on Tuesday (March 19), China's two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion Lin Dan will face third seed and former world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen in the first round of the men's singles, while top seed and current world No. 1 Kento Momota will meet 2017 Singapore Open winner Sai Praneeth of India while reigning Olympic men's singles champion Chen Long will joust with Denmark's Anders Antonsen at the same stage.

In addition, world No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying of Chinese Taipei will face former Singapore player Zhang Beiwen, who now plays under the United States flag, in the first round of the women's singles.

Among the Singaporeans, Loh Kean Yew will face Hong Kong's Lee Cheuk Yiu in the men's singles qualifiers, while Yeo Jia Min takes on Indonesia's Ruselli Hartawan in the first round of the women's singles main draw. Also, the pair of Danny Bawa Chrisnanta and Tan Wei Han will play Japan's Yuki Kaneko and Misaki Matsutomo in the opening round of the mixed doubles event.

Loh said: "I am pressured yet excited, because playing on home ground in a Super 500 event is always a dream for young players like us! I hope with home support, I will be able to put up a good fight against all my badminton heroes."

Seven of the eight reigning badminton world champions will feature at the Singapore Open, with Spain's women's singles winner Carolina Marin, who tore her right anterior cruciate ligament earlier this year, the only absentee.

Organising chairman Robert Lim said: "This year's Singapore Badminton Open boasts the presence of all our defending champions, four out of five world champions and more! If this is not exciting enough, come support our very own shuttlers or watch the battle between two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan taking on 2017 world champion Viktor Axelsen in round one."

Ticket prices are available from $2-$350 at https://www.sportshub.com.sg/.