New Delhi, Jan 14 (IANS) India Open 2023 is all set to take off and get bigger than ever at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here from January 17 to 22.
As the world’s greatest shuttlers will be engaged in a high-voltage action at the India Open-organised by the Badminton Association of India, here are Top-10 players to watch out for in the men’s singles at the mega event.
1. Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)
Tokyo Olympic champion and the current World No. 1 Viktor Axelson will be the hot favourite to clinch the title in New Delhi. The 29-year-old from Denmark, who won the tournament twice before, in 2017 and 2019, did not feature in the last edition. Axelson has already begun 2023 on an impressive note, having progressed into the Malaysia Open semi-finals. He had a sensational 2022 wherein he managed to win eight tournaments out of 12 played in the year, which also includes titles of the World Tour Finals, World Championships and All England Open Championships.
2. Anthony Sinisuka Ginting (Indonesia)
The World No. 4 Indonesian shuttler did not have a great start to 2023 after he exited in the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Open-year’s first tournament. However, the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists will be keen to get back on the track with some impressive show at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open, second tournament of the year. The 26-year-old clinched the titles of the Hylo Open and Singapore Open before ending 2022 with the runners-up finish in the World Tour Finals after losing to Viktor Axelson.
3. Lee Zii Jia (Malaysia)
Malaysia’s Lee Zii Jia is the reigning Asian champion and also the second ranked player in the world. He clinched the title of the Thailand Open last year and finished second in the Denmark Open. The 24-year-old, however, had an unforgettable start to 2023, having crashed out in the opening round of the Malaysia Open. Zii Jia will be eager to leave behind that unfortunate loss and make a fresh start in New Delhi when he competes at the Yonex-Sunrise India Open 2023.
4. Prannoy HS (India)
Following a spectacular 2022, Prannoy HS, the current India No. 1 in the world rankings, will surely be the country’s best bet to win the title in front of home support. Though the 30-year-old ended his campaign in the group stage at the World Tour Finals, his stunning come-from-behind victory against the World No. 1 Viktor Axelson garnered him many praises. The Thomas Cup champion also ended the year with a career-high ranking of eight. His best finish of 2022 came in the Swiss Open, where he lost in the final. He also finished third at the Malaysia Masters and Indonesia Open besides making it to the quarter-finals on several occasions.
5. Lakshya Sen (India)
The reigning Yonex Sunrise India Open champion will be eager to replicate his heroics from last year’s edition where he defeated current World No.6 Loh Kean Yew to win his first Super 500 title. Lakshya had a 2022 to remember as he clinched the singles gold and doubles silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games and was also part of the Indian men’s team that were crowned champions at the Thomas Cup. The World No.10, who also has the 2021 World Championships bronze to his name, is expected to continue his form from last year and put on a show in front of the home crowd as he looks to defend his crown.
6.Srikanth Kidambi (India)
India’s highly decorated shuttler, Srikanth Kidambi has won the India Open in 2015, the same year he became the first Indian man to win gold at the Swiss Open Grand Prix. The former World No.1 was also the first Indian male badminton player to reach the World Championships final in 2021. His 2022 included a singles bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games and gold at the Thomas Cup. After facing defeat against Kenta Nishimoto in the Malaysia Open Round of 32, Srikanth will be keen on getting his year on track with a strong showing at the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2023.
7. Shi Yuqi (China)
The former World No.2 was among only three men’s singles players to have won two or more BWF Tour titles last year. Shi returned to action for the first time in 10 months last August at the 2022 BWF World Championships and in spite of participating in only six competitions, he emerged victorious at the Denmark Open and Australian Open. He has previously won the India Open in 2018 and will be determined to make the most of his opportunity at this year’s edition having got off to a bad start in 2023 after exiting Malaysia Open in the first round.
8. Chirag Shetty – Satwiksairaj Rankireddy (India)
The country’s celebrated duo are the favourites to reclaim their crown at the Yonex Sunrise Open after a successful 2022. Being the highest ever ranked men’s doubles pair from India, Chirag and Satwik brought home the country’s first ever men’s double medal in the BWF World Championships by securing bronze in the tournament last year. The pair also won their first ever BWF World Super 750 title by prevailing in the 2022 French Open. They have started 2023 with a bang, producing stellar performances at the Malaysia Open and will look to continue that.
9. Hendra Setiawan – Mohammad Ahsan (Indonesia)
Ranked second in the men’s doubles, the highly decorated pair of Hendra and Mohammad will be raising the roof at the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2023 with their high level gameplay. The duo are three time World Championships gold medalists and widely regarded as one of the badminton’s greatest pairs in men’s doubles. Their 2022 saw them seal the men’s doubles silver at the Commonwealth Games but lose the 2022 India Open men’s doubles final to Chirag and Satwik. With that result in mind, the pair will be setting their sights on avenging it and going all the way this time round.
10. Aaron Chia – Soh Wooi Yik (Malaysia)
The 2021 Olympic Games bronze medalists in men’s doubles, Aaron and Soh are the current World No.3 in the BWF rankings. They had a monumental 2022, being crowned as World Champions in men’s doubles as well as securing silver in the Asian Games. The pair will be lighting up the Yonex Sunrise India Open 2023 by performing at the highest level as they look to win the tournament for the first time.