Singapore Open set for a smashing opening round

Top stars clash early in April 9-14 event as Lin takes on Axelsen, Momota battles Praneeth

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 of the main draw.

In the draw conducted yesterday, 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.

Top seed and current world No. 1 Kento Momota will meet 2017 winner B. Sai Praneeth of India, and reigning Olympic men's singles champion Chen Long will joust with Denmark's Anders Antonsen.

Also, 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. 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 across the five events 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.


It will not be an easy task for former world No. 1 Viktor Axelsen, after he was drawn to face China's two-time Olympic champion and five-time world champion Lin Dan in the first round of the Singapore Open. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HOME ADVANTAGE

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.

LOH KEAN YEW, Singapore shuttler, urging local fans to give their utmost support.

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 1."

Badminton enthusiast Mark Wong has not purchased his tickets for the event but might be interested after learning of the line-up.

"These are the best sportsmen and women of a sport I like and that's the vested interest or motivation for me to attend the event," he said.

• Tickets are available via Sports Hub Tix and APAC Tix.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 20, 2019, with the headline 'S'pore open set for a smashing opening round'. Print Edition | Subscribe